Harry Maguire had 'belief' he'd be picked for England despite poor form at Man U
Harry Maguire has revealed his belief in himself never wavered despite being left out in the cold at Manchester United this season, which raised fears over his World Cup place.
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The centre-back will earn his 50th cap for his country when England take on the USA at Al Bayt Stadium tonight amid a troubled campaign which saw him dropped by United manager Erik ten Hag.
Maguire has played just one Premier League match since September but Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate has remained loyal when selecting his England squad, with the defender one of the mainstays of his reign.
He started Monday’s opening game in Group B against Iran, and has recovered from the illness that forced him off late on in the 6-2 victory, underlining the faith shown in him by Southgate.
Maguire said: ‘Being picked for your country is a huge privilege, World Cups especially. Obviously you have fear of being in the squad (or not) but I had a great belief after what I’ve done, that in the 49 caps I’ve had for England I’ve earned the trust to be in it and be available for the team and for selection.’
At 29, Maguire admits he wants to be playing more football having fallen down the pecking order at United but claimed he did not arrive in Qatar undercooked.
‘No, I have great belief in myself, I go out on the training pitch and work as hard as possible, I give it my best and try to perform to my best level,’ Maguire added.
‘I wasn’t too worried about the lack of game time. I want to be playing every week and it’s something I’m going to fight (for), to get back into the (United) team.
‘It’s not where I wanted to be but I’ve worked to make sure I’m ready whenever there’s an opportunity to play. I’ve worked hard and always out on an extra shift in training.’
Despite the backdrop being one of an underwhelming season for his club, the former Leicester defender will reach the milestone of his half-century of caps tonight after two tournament near-misses in recent times.
‘It will be a really proud moment for myself and my family. I have some unbelievable memories,’ he said.
‘Reaching the World Cup semi-finals, the European final, I’ve had some great memories in my five, six-year career with England and a lot of the staff are still here, as are some of the players from when I made my debut.
‘We want to go one step further than we did in the Euros.’
John Stones backs Maguire
John Stones says England’s defence can take on the best with four at the back and has thrown his support behind Harry Maguire. Stones insists they do not fear facing the likes of Brazil and France.
‘Personally, no, but with us watching them through the tournament, if we come up against those teams it would be down to the manager and us having to adapt to a new system because of the qualities they bring,’ he said.
Stones, who has spent time out of the Manchester City side but has remained part of Gareth Southgate’s plans, has sympathy with Maguire who has come in for criticism for his club displays.
He added: ‘Harry hasn’t played much at his club but to come in and play like he did – I don’t think anyone saw a bit of rust on him.’
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