Gareth Southgate hints Harry Maguire will continue to start for England

England manager Gareth Southgate has hinted Harry Maguire will remain an international starter, despite the obstacles that have arisen in his club career with Manchester United.

Maguire lost his place at Old Trafford at the start of last season and slipped down the pecking order to fourth or even fifth choice centre-back. The defender was in the process of securing a £30m summer transfer to West Ham until it collapsed over failure to agree a pay-off from Man Utd.

The 30-year-old was also stripped of the United captaincy on account of not regularly playing and began the new campaign behind Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez and Victor Lindelof. Even so, Maguire was still named in Southgate’s England squad when it was announced in late August.

He played 90 minutes of the Euro 2024 qualifier against Ukraine on Saturday alongside the impressive Marc Guehi, with England set to face Scotland in a friendly on Tuesday. Further games against Australia, Italy, Malta and North Macedonia take place in the remainder of 2023.

“He’s a very experienced player, and he’s looked very good in training. Harry knows where our support is,” Southgate said of Maguire after the Ukraine match.

“He knows he has to keep playing well for us, and I think over the next few weeks, given what’s happening with their squad with injuries, he may well have a lot more minutes for [Manchester United] as well.”

United lost Varane to injury during the recent win over Nottingham Forest. Martinez was then substituted early against Arsenal and sat out Argentina’s World Cup qualifier against Ecuador. Lindelof was withdrawn before the end of the Arsenal game because of illness, while Luke Shaw has also been missing – he was occasionally used as a centre-back last season.

It meant Maguire finished the Arsenal defeat playing next to Jonny Evans, resurrecting their former partnership last season at Leicester during the 2018/19 season.

What we know

  • Maguire started for England against Ukraine in Euro 2024 qualifier
  • Man Utd defender has only appeared off the bench at club level
  • Three Lions manager Southgate reflects on the player’s international chances

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