Manchester United Legend Fires Shot At Southgate Over Maguire’s Inclusion

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Rio Ferdinand Insists Defender Harry Maguire’s Inclusion In Southgate’s 26-man Euro 2020 Squad ‘Doesn’t Make Sense’.

The Manchester United captain missed his club’s last five games of the season –  including the Europa League final defeat on penalties by Villarreal in Gdansk – with an ankle ligament injury.

Yet the 28-year-old was named as only one of three conventional centre-backs by England boss Gareth Southgate, with Aston Villa’s Tyrone Mings and Wolves’ Conor Coady the others to be included.

Manchester United Legend Fires Shot At Southgate Over Maguire's Inclusion.

It mirrors concerns when former Three Lions boss Sven Goran Eriksson included David Beckham in his 2002 World Cup squad despite his broken foot.

Four years later, the Swede also included Wayne Rooney for the finals in Germany though the striker had broken his metatarsal late in the season.

Ferdinand was in those respective squads and believes Maguire should therefore have been left at home as it could cause a distraction in the dressing room for the other 25 members of the squad this summer.

‘England needed another centre back. This tells me he [Southgate] is definitely playing three at the back,’ Ferdinand told FIVE.

‘Harry Maguire’s not even fit, I wouldn’t even take Maguire. You’re not fit, you’re not going to be fit for ages, it doesn’t make sense.

‘I’ve been in squads with players who haven’t been fit and they don’t perform when they’re not themselves.

‘It happened with Becks [Beckham] and Wazza [Rooney]. As good as Maguire is, he’s not a Becks or a Wazza.

‘I don’t think you should take someone who’s not 100% fit. It’s hard to come back and get into a rhythm.

Manchester United Legend Fires Shot At Southgate Over Maguire's Inclusion 2

‘That narrative ends up taking over the squad and it becomes the conversation and a distraction. Do we really need that? It’s pointless I think. Hopefully he proves me wrong, I would love it if he did.’

Speaking at his press conference after naming his squad, Southgate insisted that he had no qualms about naming Maguire or Jordan Henderson – who is also coming back from a groin injury – in the squad due to their experience and leadership qualities.

‘We know exactly where he [Maguire] is at,’ Southgate said.

‘Our medical team have been over with him in Manchester. He’s not travelled to us yet because of quarantine issues coming back from Poland. That was a bit more complicated.

‘He’s got a bit to do, like Jordan Henderson, to be available. But we feel the possibility that they can play a part, and the fact they’re such fantastic characters to have around the group.

‘Hendo’s leadership and presence is already having an effect on other people, especially the younger ones in the group, but all of the others as well.

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‘Given we’re able to pick 26, we felt the opportunity to have those two with us was straightforward.’

However, Southgate admitted Maguire is still unlikely to feature in England’s first game of Euro 2020 against Croatia on 13 June.

‘It is going to be tight for the first game, there is no question,’ Southgate added.

‘He is such a good player and because we had the additional size of squad, we wanted to take that opportunity to bring him into the squad.’

About Olagungu Joseph 78 Articles
Manchester United Correspondent

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