No Premier League side has ever been successful without a solid defence. And at the heart of that defence has to be a centre-back capable of keeping the best attackers in check.
Twenty years ago, managers wanted defenders who could win headers, tackles and dominate opponents in the penalty area.
Now, the elite need to mix that power and aggression with poise on the ball and an ability to play out from the back under pressure.
Here’s Mirror Football’s top 10 Premier League defenders of the season so far…
10. Conor Coady (Wolverhampton Wanderers)
Wolves captain Coady has been a key part of Wanderers smart start to life back in the Premier League, operating at the heart of a back three.