Maguire “confident” to start against Italy, Southgate maintains confidence in the troubled Man Utd captain

Maguire “confident” to start against Italy, Southgate maintains confidence in the troubled Man Utd captain

English defender Harry Maguire is reportedly expected to start against Italy in the Nations League on Friday night.

It was a difficult start to the season at club level for the Manchester United captain.

England really needs a mood boost from this unwelcome international hiatus

The 29-year-old began his first two games of the season by losing 2-1 and 4-0 to Brighton and Brentford in the Premier League.

Since then, new United manager Erik ten Hag has favored the defensive partnership of Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane.

This left Maguire on the bench in the Premier League, collecting minutes mostly in the Europa League group stage.

He has struggled and been heavily criticized for his performance at United over the past 18 months.

However, the former Leicester City defender has always been a constant player under Gareth Southgate on the international stage.

Maguire was excellent at Euro 2020 last year when the Three Lions reached the final of the competition.

Despite missing his first two games due to an ankle injury sustained in the Premier League against Aston Villa, he was named to the team of the tournament.

With Maguire out of favor under Ten Hag, Southgate was criticized for calling the center back.

Maguire’s United teammate Luke Shaw was also called despite being in a similar situation.

“Clearly, it’s not an ideal situation,” Southgate said when asked about Maguire’s lack of playing time at the club level.

“You want your best players to play regularly so that they are physically in a good place and mentally in a good place.”

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

“He understands that he is in a great club, great transfer fee and captain of the club, so I think that’s why the spotlight has been on him more.”

And in an unsurprising but disappointing revelation for some, Atletico correspondent David Ornstein reported this Maguire will start tonight against Italy in the Nations League.

“Harry Maguire will receive the much needed vote of confidence from Gareth Southgate as the Manchester United captain is expected to start against Italy in England’s penultimate match before the World Cup,” the report said.

Maguire is believed to be “relaxed and confident” about his situation which has always impressed for England.

The Southgate team will also face Germany during the international break in what will be the Three Lions’ last game before the World Cup.

They are currently the last in their Nations League group after a terrible international hiatus in June and could risk relegation to the second division after collecting two points from four games.

England’s poor performance in June was justifiable in some ways, as their matches came after a grueling season.

The World Cup that will be played in winter could perhaps benefit the English players, who will be fresher than they have ever been for an international tournament.


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