Harry Maguire England

Southgate's praise for Maguire's character

Saturday 13 November 2021 11:27

England manager Gareth Southgate was pleased to see Manchester United captain Harry Maguire on the scoresheet in the 5-0 win over Albania at Wembley.

Maguire missed his country’s last camp in October due to a calf problem but found the net on his return to the side in Friday’s World Cup qualifying victory.

A stickier patch of results at club level has naturally made our captain’s work to return to full fitness even tougher in recent week, but Harry will never be one to shy away from that challenge, says his international boss. 

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Speaking after the Three Lions’ triumph over Albania, Southgate praises Maguire’s attitude and willingness to confront any challenge that lies ahead.

“It’s been a difficult period for him, coming back too early really but he’s a player that wants to be out there for his team,” the England manager said in his post-match interview with ITV. 

“I think he’s shown huge responsibility in doing that, so he never ducks that challenge, and it was great to see him scoring tonight again.”
Harry connected with a free-kick whipped in by Chelsea’s Reece James and headed home to give England the lead just nine minutes into the crucial World Cup qualifier in the capital. 

It’s the United captain's sixth goal for his country, and while also catching up with ITV after the match, he reflected on the importance of the strike. 

“Yeah of course [it meant a lot]. 

“Scoring for your country is a great feeling, my first goal in a crucial qualifier, we knew how important the game was, we knew we had to win the game. 

“It really opened them up to come after us and then we punished them. We knew how important the first goal was, for me to score it is a really pleasing moment.”
England would go on to add to our captain’s early header and courtesy of a hat-trick from Tottenham’s Harry Kane, and a goal from Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson, the Three Lions took a 5-0 lead into the break. 

Maguire and co didn’t add to the advantage in the second half, but the scoreline at full-time was reflective of a resounding performance that means the Three Lions now just need a point from Monday’s campaign finale at San Marino to top Group I and secure qualification for next year’s World Cup in Qatar.

“When you play for England, there’s always an edge and that pressure that you’ve got to go and win the football match,” Maguire said after his country’s important victory at Wembley.

“We didn’t win the last game against Hungary, we were disappointed with the performance, we’ve spoken about that, analysed that. 

“I think if you don’t play with an edge when you play for your country, there’s something wrong. Like I say, it was an impressive performance.”