Harry Maguire’s situation is ‘not ideal’ but Gareth Southgate still rates the English man

Gareth Southgate says Harry Maguire’s lack of playing time is “not an ideal situation” but the under-fire Manchester United captain retains the England manager’s support and faith.

The world’s most expensive defender is currently out of favor at Old Trafford with Erik ten Hag benching him after losing the first two games of the season.

Maguire’s only start since was the Europa League defeat by Real Sociedad and last Thursday he featured in the 89th minute against Sheriff Tiraspol in the competition.

England’s Harry Maguire during a training session at St George’s Park (Mike Egerton/PA)

(PA wire)

Southgate included the 29-year-old in his England squad earlier that day despite his lack of action – one of several similar issues he is dealing with which he likened to a situation handled by England rugby coach Eddie Jones.

Reigning Gallagher Premiership champions Saracens were relegated after breaching salary caps at the end of the 2019/20 season, meaning a number of key international players have had to ply their trade in the second division.

“I just read Eddie Jones’ book and he had a similar situation with the Saracens players,” Southgate said.

“Even in hindsight he felt they were his best players and although they were undercooked they would still be better than players who weren’t up to the level.

“So I don’t think there are a lot of players who aren’t here now and are still at the level to go in and play.

“Look, it’s clearly not an ideal situation. You want your best players to play regularly so that they are healthy physically and mentally.

“But he is an important player for us. I think it’s important to support our best players.

“The squad that we picked, there’s a whole bunch of players that you could argue we could have left out at that point, but I think we wanted to keep that group together and involve them so that they could feel as feel part of it.

“But they also know that some of them need to play more regularly because now we’re only a couple of weeks away from preparation, so physically if they’ve had a couple of 90 minutes then that’s fine.

“Seven, eight weeks, then it will be more complicated.”

When asked if he had spoken to Maguire about his current situation, Southgate said: “I didn’t feel the need to speak to him any differently than I did to the other players.

“I’m trying to start with everyone individually, it was a bit more complicated this time because we have 28, so I’ll get there!

“Look, he understands that he’s at a big club, he’s a big transfer fee and he’s captain of the club, so I think that’s why he gets more of the spotlight.

“But he’s focused on training well every day and getting back into the team.”

All of Maguire’s 46 caps have come under Southgate, for whom he excelled during England’s run to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals and last year’s European Championship final.

“I think, look, you always have to use your judgment and we think he’s an important player,” Southgate said ahead of Friday’s Nations League game against Euro 2020 opponents Italy.

Harry Maguire was one of the stars of England’s march to the Euro 2020 final (Nick Potts/PA)

(PA Archive)

“If we thought there were experienced players willing to come 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 that way.

“He is our most dominant mid-air defender. He and John (Stones) are really amazing with the ball – how much pressure they’ve taken for the team in tournaments we’ve been in because we don’t always have that central midfielder who can move the game forward.

“It means our centre-backs have a lot more pressure to use the ball well and these two are as good as anyone in world football.”

https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/gareth-southgate-harry-maguire-england-eddie-jones-europa-league-b2173463.html Harry Maguire’s situation is ‘not ideal’ but Gareth Southgate still rates the English man

Fry Electronics Team

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