Harry Maguire: I'm in a positive place now
Harry Maguire says he’s ‘proud’ of the way he has overcome a difficult start to the season to reach the brink of history with England.
Maguire is preparing for Wednesday’s Euro 2020 semi-final with Denmark in a buoyant mood after the 4-0 destruction of Ukraine at the weekend.
It’s all a far cry from October 2020, when the Manchester United centre-back was sent off in the first half of a 1-0 UEFA Nations League defeat to the Danes at Wembley.
That red card came after a tough summer personally for Harry, while United had also experienced a poor start to the season, and the 28-year-old credited his close support network for helping him recover and get back to the top of his game.
“Yeah, I have great support around me,” Maguire told reporters on Monday. “Great family, great friends and a great club as well who have helped me along the way.
“I look back and obviously it was a challenging time. I think every international player has been through ups and downs in their career. That’s part and parcel of being a footballer. It was a challenging time but I’m proud of the way that I handled it and the way I’ve come through it.
“Now I’m in a positive place and everything’s good at the moment and long may it continue.
“I wouldn’t say it’s extra motivation because of that [defeat],” he continued. “I think the motivation is there: it’s the semi-final of a European Championship.
“The semi-final loss at the World Cup hurt a lot so when it comes on Wednesday night we need to make sure we get a positive feeling, rather than the one that we got against Croatia [in 2018].”
Maguire also thanked manager Gareth Southgate for his show of faith in selecting him in the Euros squad, despite the ankle injury he picked up with United in May.
“Gareth’s support for me has been brilliant ever since I made my debut,” Harry added.
“He picked me to make my debut and then ever since when I’ve been available I’ve pretty much played in every game possible.
“That gives me great confidence and belief and trust going into the game and to enable me to perform to my best.
“Of course, every time I step on the pitch I’m trying to repay the faith and the trust because I want to do my best for the country.”
While the Three Lions will be roared on by the majority of the 60,000-strong crowd in attendance at the national stadium on Wednesday, many neutrals could be backing Denmark.
Kasper Hjulmand’s side have caught the eye with their attacking, attractive football having had to deal with the emotions of seeing team-mate Christian Eriksen suffer a cardiac arrest in their tournament opener with Finland.
“Yeah, definitely it’s been really inspiring their journey,” Harry agreed. “Our thoughts have always been with Christian and his recovery and we’re all right behind that.
“They’re a good team and for years they’ve proven that they’re a top team. I think they’re the highest ranked team we’ll have played in this competition.
“We know they’re a strong team with great leaders, great experience so we know it’s going to be a tough game but we’re really focused on ourselves.”