Southgate Defends Maguire: We've Got to Back Our Experienced Players

Southgate Defends Maguire: We've Got to Back Our Experienced Players
Gareth Southgate, head coach of England during the UEFA Nations League League A Group 3 match between Italy and England at San Siro on September 23, 2022 in Milan, Italy. — Photo by canno73

England coach Gareth Southgate has moved to defend under-fire Harry Maguire after another poor display in Monday’s 3-3 UEFA Nations League draw with Germany in London.

The Three Lions, who finish their Nations League campaign winless, showed fight after responding from trailing 2-0 down to claim the lead with goals from Luke Shaw, Mason Mount and Harry Kane.

But Maguire gave the ball up and fouled Jamal Musiala to concede an early penalty converted by Ilkay Gundogan, before a turnover up the field from the Manchester United defender led to Kai Havertz’s goal making it 2-0.

Maguire’s form has been a concern, struggling at club level to the point where he was dropped by United boss Erik ten Hag.

“I know everybody will focus on Harry but there were some very important moments that Harry delivered during the two matches,” Southgate told reporters, also referring to Friday’s 1-0 loss to Italy.

“Luke was another example of somebody that is an outstanding footballer, so what do we do? Not pick Luke Shaw because he’s not playing enough football, or do we pick a player that can do what you saw tonight?

“That’s always going to raise debate but I think in these moments we’ve got to back our best and most experienced players, unless we’re in a situation where it’s almost untenable and impossible to pick them.”

Goalkeeper Nick Pope made a major blunder allowing Germany’s late equaliser, unable to hold or parry away Serge Gnabry’s shot, allowing Havertz to put home the rebound.

Southgate’s preferred first-choice goalkeeper remains up for discussion, with Jordan Pickford, Aaron Ramsdale and Dean Henderson among the contenders.

“It is an error and of course he’s going to be down. But the team has to be together and we have done that all week,” Southgate told Channel 4.

“Tonight, in the end, a couple of errors have cost us the goals. But I’ll focus on the fact they played with tremendous spirit and showed a belief that we haven’t shown in the last few games. I thought the crowd saw that and rose to that.”

Ben somerford
Sports Pundit staff writer @bensomerford
Australian journalist who specialises on all sports, focusing on football, tennis, basketball and racing, having written for global publications including FourFourTwo, AAP, Inside Futbol and many more....

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