Gareth Southgate, England manager, has explained why he called Harry Maguire into his newest team despite his poor recent form.
Maguire has had a bad season for Manchester United, and there is a legitimate case to be made for leaving the defender out of the starting lineup.
He appeared nervous in Tuesday’s 1-0 loss to Atletico Madrid, but Southgate has emphasized his belief in Maguire before of games against Switzerland and the Ivory Coast.
Southgate stated during the news conference preceding the release of his squad that he would never consider benching Maguire for these friendly matches.
“I don’t think it ever occurred to us not to select Harry Maguire for this squad,” Southgate said.
“He was a critical member of the starting eleven that helped us reach a World Cup semi-final and a European Championship final.”
“I understand the club is going through a difficult situation, but you have to look at who our greatest players are and who the core of the team is, and he belongs in that category.”
“There is no doubt in my view that he is one of our greatest center backs, and form is only temporary in that sense.” I’ll always be accused of having double standards when it comes to selecting and shape, but there are nuances to that.
“Harry has now over 40 caps, has been a steady solid player for us and was throughout the autumn as well, and hopefully he can continue that vein of form he has had with us for a long time.”
Maguire has had a difficult season for United, but for England, he appears to be a different player, and it is no surprise that Southgate has kept trust with him.
Southgate called him up following his off-field difficulties in Greece last summer, and he was selected for Euro 2020 despite missing the first two matches due to injury.
Supporters of the England squad are fairly reactionary in terms of wanting whoever is playing the best right now to be in there.
Southgate, on the other hand, has made the point about England’s form and players who have been good for him and the team for a long time.
Maguire fits into that category, and the most that United can hope for is that the time away will help him regain confidence.