England boss Southgate gives telling Maguire verdict after poor Ukraine draw

Ukraine 1-1 England – The Verdict

England manager Gareth Southgate collectively praised his centre-back pairing after Saturday’s lacklustre Euro 2024 qualifying draw against Ukraine. But Southgate rather tellingly brushed over Harry Maguire and opted to shower Marc Guehi with praise as the fringe Manchester United star battles for his international future.

Maguire started for England at Wroclaw’s Tarczynski Arena despite failing to start any of United’s four Premier League games this season.

The 30-year-old has slipped down Erik ten Hag’s pecking order after being stripped of the captaincy and is now fourth choice at Old Trafford.

But he kept his place in Southgate’s side as England resumed their preparations for next summer’s Euro 2024 in Germany.

Kyle Walker’s equaliser cancelled out Oleksandr Zinchenko’s opener in the 1-1 stalemate as England underwhelmed.

And while Southgate was happy with his centre-backs after full-time, he focused almost all of his praise on Guehi.

“Yeah, [they were] very good. And especially for Marc [Guehi]. That’s a really great test for a young centre-back in one of his first qualifying games for us [England],” Southgate explained.

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“I thought he came through really well. Good composure, never looked ruffled, positionally good, so very pleased with what he did.”

It follows Southgate’s comments earlier this week when he suggested that Maguire continuing to not play for United will become a problem down the line.

But for now, the United star continues to receive his international manager’s vote of confidence.

Southgate said: “He’s looked good. He’s training with top players every day. Obviously, he got into the game the other day at a critical point.

“As a defender, that’s not ideal to come into a game in that situation.

“But of course, he’s a very experienced player, and he’s looked very good in training. Harry knows where our support is.

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“He knows he has to keep playing well for us, and I think over the next few weeks, given what’s happening with their squad with injuries, he may well have a lot more minutes for them as well.”

England face Scotland in a friendly on Tuesday, and Southgate is expecting another tough outgoing against fellow Euro 2024 qualifying high-fliers.

“It will be a completely different game,” Southgate added after full-time.

“They are going very well. They are a good side, strong in the middle of the park and difficult to score against. We have to reflect on tonight and improve on the performance.”

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