JORDAN HENDERSON and Harry Maguire spend most of their time as Premier League foes with Liverpool and Manchester United.
After a lengthy absence of international football, England were back in action against Switzerland on Saturday afternoon. A lacklustre first half gave those at Wembley little to cheer about, and Breel Embolo’s precise header sent the Three Lions into half-time a goal down.
Luke Shaw promptly levelled the scores after the break with a superb strike from the edge of the box, before Harry Kane came to the rescue with a late penalty to rubber-stamp a 2-1 win. It was the Tottenham talisman’s 49th goal for his country, taking him ahead of Gary Lineker and alongside Sir Bobby Charlton on the all-time list.
Henderson played the full 90 minutes in midfield while Maguire watched on from the bench. Indeed, eyebrows were raised when Maguire made the squad at all in light of his well-publicised struggles for form at Old Trafford.
A recent training exchange between the pair highlighted the United captain’s lack of confidence. An impressive rondo passing drill was in full flow as Henderson could be heard counting beyond the 40 mark, until the ball arrived at Maguire’s feet when he inexplicably took a touch and was easily tackled.
Seemingly as perplexed as the rest of his team-mates, Henderson bluntly responded: “What you doing?”. It remains to be seen if Southgate fancies giving Maguire a run-out when England host Ivory Coast on Tuesday.
Many felt as though Fikayo Tomori was more deserving of a Three Lions call-up in light of his tremendous displays for AC Milan. So far this season, the 24-year-old has featured in 23 of their 30 Serie A matches as they blaze a trail towards the league title ahead of Napoli, Inter Milan and Juventus.
With such exciting youngsters competing for international minutes, Maguire will have to dig deep and pull himself out of a hole at club level if he is to cement a spot in Southgate’s World Cup squad later this year. Despite going through a tough period, the Three Lions boss still gave him a strong show of support when quizzed on his selection call.
“I don’t think it ever crossed our minds not to select Harry Maguire for this squad,” he claimed, “There wasn’t a chance we weren’t going to call him up.
“He’s one of our best centre backs. I always get criticised for being inconsistent but there are nuances. We have more competition in the wide areas.”
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