England manager Gareth Southgate decided to stick with Harry Maguire in his latest England squad, despite the centre-back losing his place in Manchester United’s starting eleven.
Southgate says he is ready to put his reputation on the line in his support of England’s most dominant aerial defender, with less than two months until the World Cup starts.
The Manchester United skipper will be under pressure to perform against Italy in the Nations League tonight because he hasn’t played a lot of football this season.
That hasn’t changed Southgate’s opinion of Maguire, who was one of his most trusted players in England’s run to Euro 2020 final which they lost on penalties against the Italians.
Southgate told reporters, as quoted by The Mirror: “Whatever reputation I have I’m putting it on there. I think, look, you always have to back your judgement and we feel Harry is an important player.
“If we thought there were experienced players ready to step in and play at a level above him there would be a different consideration and in some positions there would be a different level of competition in that way.
“He is our most dominant aerial centre-back. He is an important player for us. I think it’s important to back our best players.”
I’m sure Maguire’s confidence took a massive hit over the past year because he became a scapegoat for last season’s failings. That said, I think everyone United fan should be wishing him well rather than joking at his expense across social media.
Maguire gets a hard time and I’m not all that surprised to see him get selected by England because the last time he was missing they called on Tyrone Mings. And it should go without saying that Maguire is a far better defender!