Harry Maguire: Gareth Southgate defends Manchester United captain’s selection in England squad

Gareth Southgate has defended his selection of Harry Maguire in the England squad for this month’s friendlies, insisting the defender “can play at the highest level”.

The 29-year-old Manchester United captain has come

under criticism for his club performances this season, with some questioning whether he deserved a place in the England squad for the matches against Switzerland and the Ivory Coast.

Maguire, who was an integral part of both England’s 2018 World Cup semi-final campaign and their Euro 2020 final run, could feature against the Ivory Coast at Wembley on Tuesday night, live on Sky Sports, having been an unused substitute for Saturday’s win over Switzerland.

Asked whether Maguire is still one of the best England players, Southgate replied: “He has got us to a World Cup semi-final and a European Championship final so there’s no doubt he’s more than capable of playing at the highest level.

“He was very good for us in the autumn. The club [Manchester United] are in a difficult moment – there could be any number of reasons for that – so that doesn’t mean that players can be poor for a couple of years and then still find their way in, and sometimes it depends on competition for positions.

“We’ve obviously had some forward players out who haven’t been in good form but there’s direct, experienced replacements for those players, so it is a complicated decision.”

Southgate added: “In terms of selection, that’s always a difficult conundrum because we’ve got players who we know have performed well in an England shirt.

“There’s got to be some level of scrutiny on how people are playing with their clubs because that’s got to be a factor within it and then who’s the opponent and who’s best-suited to play against the opponent.

“It is a complicated thing and I know everybody has a view on who we should and shouldn’t be picking. In the end, we need the best players possible playing at their best level to give ourselves the best chance of winning.”

Maguire’s United team-mate Luke Shaw is also enduring a difficult season at Old Trafford.

But following his equalising goal in the 2-1 victory over Switzerland at the weekend, the 26-year-old said feeling ‘wanted’ is a factor in his improved England form.

Asked about Shaw’s comments, Southgate said: “I hope we have an environment where all of the players feel they can be the best version of themselves and a lot of that is credit to the environment they’ve created.

“We’ve got super characters – I’m looking at the young players coming in and the older ones are all sitting with them at meal times, they’re making them feel relaxed, feel at ease and then there’s clarity on your job on the pitch of what’s expected of you. I think they are the things we have to achieve to allow people to perform at the best level.”

bet365 sport. To add to the In-Play excitement, bet365 stream over hundreds of events live to your PC every year. So you can bet as the action unfolds. See all upcoming sport events you can bet at bet experts. Highlights include Masters Series Tennis tournaments and matches from some of the top domestic Soccer leagues in the world. To use the Live Streaming service you need to be log in and have a funded account. Or to have place a bet in the last 24 hours. Any fixture/event on bet365 website and bet365 mobile which has the Play or Video icon is schedule to be show via Live Streaming. bet bg

Make your bet365 registration. Enjoy a unique experience with bet365 and bet365 mobile!

Our forecasts for upcoming meetings have been carefully examine and provide in good faith, but with no guaranteed earnings. We advise you to gamble responsibly and only with the money you can afford to lose.

✅ Registration at bet365 | Account verification | Deposit money | Sports Betting | How to bet |  Live Betting | Watch Live Stream | Offers, Bonuses and Promotions| Casino | Poker

18+ | Gamble Responsibly | BeGambleAware.org

BET EXPERTS

Author: Arnold Watts