Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate remains confident the club did the right thing by selling defender Robert Huth.
The in-form German international left the Riverside Stadium for Stoke in a £5million deal which could rise to £6million as the summer transfer window drew to a close.
However, the Teessiders only agreed to sell the 25-year-old as they attempted to cut costs in the wake of relegation because they believed they had cover, with skipper Emanuel Pogatetz and the experienced Chris Riggott closing in on returns from long-term injury.
Southgate said: "If I look at [David] Wheater, Pogatetz, Riggott before I go into our younger group of [Rhys] Williams, [Seb] Hines and [Jonathan] Grounds, who have all got experience at this level, we have got three centre-halves there who would be as good as there is in this division.
"Chris helped Stoke get promotion two years ago when he was on loan and he was outstanding for us last season, Emanuel statistically has been our best defender over the last three years, so in a sense, if there was a position where we always felt we might have to loose somebody, it was centre-back."