Gareth Southgate has told Harry Maguire not to worry about his lack of minutes at Manchester United with regards to his place in the England team.
The Sun report that Maguire is still in Southgate’s plans, despite not starting United’s last four games.
Maguire has been displaced at Old Trafford by Lisandro Martinez, who has formed an excellent partnership with Raphael Varane at the heart of United’s defence.
The axing of Maguire has been a long time coming for United fans, his form and confidence have been below par for a long time now, and United look visibly more secure at the back without him.
Since the Brentford horror show, United have won each of their last four games, built from the solid base the current back four have provided.
However, Maguire’s England form has remained decent despite his club struggles. He is also a favourite of Gareth Southgate, who recently described him as “United’s best centre-back”.
The vote of confidence will provide a welcome boost to Maguire with the World Cup on the horizon.
England’s lack of options at centre back may also play a part in Southgate’s desire to defend Maguire, whose form has been indefensible over the last 18 months.
Erik Ten Hag has also recently placed public trust in the £80 million man, choosing to stick with Maguire as the club captain when others, including members of the current squad, felt it was time for a change in leadership in the dressing room.
Given the form of Martinez and Varane, it’s difficult to see how Maguire regains his first-team place at club level, barring injuries to the first-choice pairing.
Maguire did come off the bench for the closing minutes in the weekend win against Arsenal, a cameo which saw him booked a minute after his introduction and generally look shaky throughout as United closed the game out.
Maguire’s confidence is at an all-time low, and his United future is hanging by a thread. Rumours that he could have made a move away from Old Trafford at the back end of the transfer window, the most significant indicator of his fall from grace at the club.
The Europa League will likely provide Maguire some game time to try and rediscover any kind of form that he can take into the World Cup in November.
United’s next fixture does come in Europe, against Real Sociedad on Thursday night, with Maguire hoping to start.