From an 80 million pound wastage to the Captain of the Ship, Harry Maguire’s journey at the Theatre of Dreams has proven to be exceptional. The Red Devils centre-back has been the heart of Solskjaer’s much improved defence this season.
Once again it was expected that the towering defender would prove his mettle in the upcoming Euros. However, a mishap against Aston Villa towards the end of the Premier League season parried Southgate’s senior centre-back to the sidelines.
Although Maguire made it to the final roster of the Three Lions, he’s not been declared fit to face arch-rivals Croatia in his side’s opener on June 13.. Still, an optimistic Gareth Southgate believes that Maguire’s injury is being treated perfectly and the Three Lions’ defensive substratum will soon be donning the prestigious white outfit.
With the Euros imminently close the biggest conundrum is whether Southgate’s Lions will need the services of Maguire or are they a better squad with the Red Devil?
RED DEVILS’ PROTAGONIST?
With Manchester United in deep waters, a 6’4’’ Leicester City defender was called to provide his services at the Theatre. With almost 3.6 clearances in the world’s most difficult league, the Red Devil established a name in the market.
A regular feature in Solskjaer’s back-line, Harry Maguire made himself a household name in Manchester. The most hated player in the red parts of Manchester a year ago, Maguire is now their an underrated hero.
Great way to finish the @premierleague campaign. Well done lads.
Another step forward this year but we don’t settle for this, next year we must improve again.
Looking forward to Wednesday #MUFC 🔴🏆 pic.twitter.com/n44HwDcH2L
— Harry Maguire (@HarryMaguire93) May 23, 2021
And Maguire deserves all the praise the world is offloading on him. A weak United defence became a formidable wall with Maguire’s addition. Splashing 80 million in the transfer market is no cakewalk but if it lands quality, the amount cannot be questioned.
— Man United News (@ManUtdMEN) April 4, 2021
His world-class performance didn’t go unnoticed as Maguire soon became the powerhouse of Gareth Southgate’s England. With a cut to throat fight in the Three Lions defensive column, Maguire is the only name that cannot be removed from Southgate’s eleven.
An English sponge, Maguire has shown how he can soak pressure in tense situations. Though the 28-year-old lacks pace, he rarely gives his opposite number space to breathe and commands the backline especially well.
THE THREE LIONS’ DEFENSIVE POWERHOUSE
‘Last Euros as a fan, this Euros as a player.” Maguire penned down an emotional tweet after he was bestowed upon the duty to represent the Three Lions.
Last Euros as a fan. This Euros as a player. Huge honour – can’t wait to get started 🏴 pic.twitter.com/fv2XNermU0
— Harry Maguire (@HarryMaguire93) June 1, 2021
A true warrior on and off the pitch, Maguire has received ample criticism and has learnt from every mistake he has committed. Marshalling England’s backline, the Red Devils defender could be England’s nucleus if he’s fit.
An unfortunate ligament tear against Aston Villa kept the defender on the sidelines for weeks. Although he’s steadily recovering, Southgate believes England are still walking on thin ice. If Maguire fails to feature in Euros, England’s defence could be up for hours of defensive duty. A pool of options available for Southgate but none of them can replicate Maguire’s dominance on the pitch.
In the 32 matches for the Three Lions, Maguire has been exceptional. A true leader on the football pitch, Maguire accompanied by Luke Shaw, Kyle Walker, or John Stones could finally guide England to some silverware.
Maguire’s presence will give Southgate the freedom to play extra strikers without worrying about the need for a defensive midfielder. United’s failure to land a defensive-midfielder has always raised a few eyebrows, but Maguire’s attendance in Solskjaer’s team sheet has ensured that the Red Devils function without that role. Most of their build-up play is also directed by Maguire and his runs with the chest puffed-out into midfield are a good tool of progression.
When United locked horns with Liverpool at the Theatre, the home team suffered a shambolic 4-2 defeat with the Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof featuring in Maguire’s absence. Without Maguire, the team looked like an open gate for anyone to enter with the Liverpool strikers having a goal-scoring feast.
A potent weapon during set-pieces, Maguire chips in with important goals at all times. This was shown best in England’s deep run at the 2018 World Cup as well as in their March World Cup qualifiers. Lingering around the back-post, Harry waits for the perfect delivery, takes a formidable leap, and pounces on the ball like the perfect poacher finding the back of the net.
Harry Maguire is pivotal for England’s success. His presence on the pitch bolsters Southgate’s chances of mirroring the 1996 heroics. An up and alive Maguire could prove to be a headache for the opposition causing waves of tensions. It’s Coming Home only when the centre-back is able to be England’s fulcrum in defence. If his injury is taken care of, England’s possibility of lifting silverware at Wembley increases considerably.