Manchester United skipper Harry Maguire has not had the best of times in the last 12 months and his poor form has led to him losing his place in the first XI.
Erik ten Hag has favoured the partnership of Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane while Victor Lindelof has replaced Varane when injured instead of the 29-year-old.
And with the centre-back not playing as many matches as possible, there was a call for England manager to not pick Maguire and instead focus on the young and upcoming talents.
However, Gareth Southgate resisted those urges and picked the defender considering his past displays for the Three Lions. And he duly picked him in the starting line-up for the World Cup opener against Iran.
There were opposition banners trolling the United defender ahead of kick-off and it was just the latest episode in a difficult period where he has been attacked time and again on social media.
Harry Maguire’s game by numbers vs. Iran:
100% aerial duels won
100% ground duels won
89% pass accuracy
10 long balls completed
1 shot off the woodwork
1/1 dribble completed
1 key pass
Great opening performance. 👏 pic.twitter.com/CaJ5dZmq6h
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) November 21, 2022
Credit to Maguire for never letting those comments affect him and he was in fine fettle on Monday.
He could have got his side a penalty in the opening exchanges but the referee waved play on despite later footage confirming that a penalty would have been the right course of action.
Maguire then hit the bar from a powerful header with the Iran goalkeeper well beaten. His efforts finally paid off as he once again won a header from a corner and his knockdown was expertly thrashed into the net by Bukayo Saka for England’s second.
The England defender was immense in the air, winning 100% of his aerial duels. And whenever Iran got the ball, he expertly mopped up and that was illustrated by his 100% ground duel success.
United will be hoping for more of the same
One quality that has never let the former Leicester City man is his passing ability and that was once again on full display as he had 81 touches and had a pass success rate of 89%. Maguire also completed 10 long balls.
The United star had to be substituted in the second-half as a concussion substitute but his display will no doubt please Southgate and Ten Hag considering his recent travails.
United fans will be hoping a fully rejuvenated Maguire can return to Old Trafford as United target silverware and a top four finish under Ten hag this season.