England boss Gareth Southgate has described Harry Maguire as ‘one of England’s best centre-backs’ after naming him in his 26-man squad for the World Cup. The Manchester United captain has been badly out of form in recent weeks but is still one of the favourites to line-up in the backline for the Three Lions against Iran.
Maguire has fallen out of favour with Erik ten Hag at Old Trafford after suffering an alarming drop off in form over the last 12 months. Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane have been the Dutchman’s pairing of choice with many calling for the 29-year-old to be left out of the squad as a result.
However, Southgate never really seemed likely to leave out the player who has reserved his best form for England over the past few years. Upon naming his squad he hit back at those who had been critical of the defender.
“He is one of our best centre-backs,” he told reporters while explaining his selection. “I think we know within the squad that we have a lot of players that have been to tournaments and performed at the level and know what is required.
“We have other players who are playing well and in form at this moment, and we have to balance that when we are picking our team.”
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“You have to have some consistency in your thinking, it’s hard to build something without that. Then others can come in and thrive. The key now is we have to show that on the biggest stage.”
Despite Southgate’s explanation, England fans have still hit out against the manager’s decision to call on Maguire at the expense of Tomori, labelling the call as ‘a joke’.
Despite this, the Three Lions faithful will hope to be proven wrong as the nation relies on Maguire to help the nation end the 56 year wait for the World Cup trophy.