Southgate's praise for Maguire's character
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.
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.
“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.”
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.”
"I'm Manchester United captain, of course I'm going get criticism when the team isn't doing well but the celebration wasn't directed at anyone" 💬@HarryMaguire93 spoke to @gabrielclarke05 following England's win over Albania#ITVFootball pic.twitter.com/UITHWQiZoX— ITV Football (@itvfootball) November 12, 2021
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.”