Injury concern for impressive Maguire

Monday 21 November 2022 15:32

Harry Maguire's excellent performance for England in their opening World Cup 2022 win over Iran was cruelly curtailed when the Manchester United captain was forced to leave the field due to injury.

The centre-back had twice used his head to good effect in the first half, hitting the crossbar and later setting up Bukayo Saka to make it 2-0, so it was highly unfortunate when a blow to that part of his body caused him to be substituted during the second period.

Maguire went down just after Iran pulled a goal back at 4-1 in the 65th minute and he was checked by England's medical team on the pitch. Concussion was the apparent concern as the decision was taken to remove him from the fray, and he was replaced by Tottenham Hotspur's Eric Dier as manager Gareth Southgate made multiple substitutions.

Another of those changes brought Maguire's team-mate Marcus Rashford into the fray and his almost immediate strike, added to Maguire and Luke Shaw's assists - the latter crossed for Jude Bellingham's headed opener - meant that United's players had a total of three goal involvements in the eventual 6-2 victory.

This Shaw statistic is absolutely incredible


Research shows United defender Luke has become one of England's most impressive players in tournament football.

Maguire's display during the first 45 minutes, when the Three Lions went 3-0 up, was a talking point at half-time.

Working as a World Cup pundit for the BBC, United and England legend Rio Ferdinand had high praise for Harry.

"He has done what Harry Maguire does for England, causing problems in the opposition box," said the former defender.

"He looks so at home in an England shirt. He has been tremendous today like all of the other players, controlling and dictating things at the back and being an absolute threat in the opposing box. He hit the bar and he set up the goal for Saka as well, with a fantastic header under immense pressure as well."
Jermaine Jenas, the ex-England and Tottenham midfielder, concurred with his BBC colleague Ferdinand when commenting as Maguire walked forlornly off the field.

"I think, in that first half in particular, he's done really well. He takes on a world of pressure, Harry Maguire, and for him to go out there in an England shirt and perform how he did in the first half in both boxes, mainly from an attacking point of view, he can be proud.

"He can hold his head high. It's a good step in the right direction."

It remains to be seen whether Maguire will be passed fit to feature in England's other Group B fixtures, against USA on Friday evening (19:00 GMT) and Wales next Tuesday (also 19:00), as players usually have to take an enforced rest when concussion is suspected.

However, the Reds centre-back suggested he could feature against the Americans when he tweeted after the Iran game: "I felt unwell in the second half so came off as a precaution. Looking forward to Friday."

Hopefully, Harry will pick up from where he left off in his impressive first outing in Qatar.