September 27, 2021

Southgate admits to fears over Maguire’s career after England red card nightmare

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The Three Lions coach revealed concerns about the centre-half but has been pleased with his ability to bounce back

England boss Gareth Southgate has admitted to being worried about Harry Maguire’s career after the Manchester United captain was sent off against Denmark – compounding a summer of misery.

Maguire looked distraught after being shown a first-half red card in the 1-0 defeat to the Danes at Wembley last month, with the defender also receiving serious criticism for his performances at the back for the Red Devils.

The 27-year-old’s struggles came after he was found guilty of aggravated assault, resisting arrest, and repeated attempts of bribery after an incident in Mykonos, Greece in August.

However, Maguire has slowly worked his way back to his best on the pitch, scoring in the 4-1 win against Newcastle, while also netting a header in England’s recent 3-0 victory versus Republic of Ireland.

Southgate revealed he was delighted with Maguire’s ability to bounce back from adversity, but admitted to worrying about the former Leicester City star’s immediate future following the run of incidents.

“I was really pleased with Harry,” Southgate said.

“I felt that the red card could bottom everything out. You could see on his face when he was walking off the pitch that night [against Denmark], how he was just having one of those spells where he must have felt everything was against him.

“I had some good conversations with him and I know his club would have supported him and his club performances were solid after that.

“Against Ireland I thought it was important to get him back in an England shirt. It was a lovely moment for him to captain the team and to get the goal as well is a real boost – so that was great to see.”

England are currently preparing for two UEFA Nations League fixtures against Belgium (away) and Iceland (home).

The Three Lions are sitting in third place in Group 2, level on points with Denmark as both attempt to catch Belgium, who are two points further ahead.

Only the group winner progresses to the Nations League semi-finals, with England needing a win against the Belgians to put themselves in the box seat to qualify with a match against point-less Iceland to come.

While defeat to Belgium will see England unable to qualify, they will still have a faint hope of qualification for the semi-finals with a draw, but they will need to make up a significant goal difference in their final match versus Iceland and hope the Belgians lose to Denmark.