Southgate’s questonable faith in Maguire continues for erratic England

England played their final fixture before the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, drawing 3-3 with Germany following a frenzied second half at Wembley.

The six-goal thriller followed a 1-0 loss to Italy at the San Siro on Friday as Gareth Southgate’s side made it six games without a win, but how did the two games impact the players who might – and might not – make the cut for his 26-man squad for Qatar?

Harry Maguire was shaky, if not glaringly poor, in England’s 1-0 loss to Italy on Friday but his horror show against Germany three days later underlined why so many are baffled by Southgate’s loyalty to him. Is his position in this team untenable?

The centre-back, deployed on the left of England’s back three against Germany, as he was against Italy, was largely untroubled for the first 50 minutes at Wembley but it all unravelled spectacularly after that.

He was at fault for Germany’s opening goal twice over, first gifting the ball straight to Jamal Musiala, then fouling him to concede the penalty. Not long afterwards, he could be seen losing possession in Germany’s half in the build-up to their second.

The errors will do nothing for his already fragile confidence and there is little prospect of Maguire rebuilding it back at Manchester United, where he has lost his place in the starting line-up and, it seems, lost his status within the dressing room.

England fans are desperate for a changing of the guard in defence but Southgate has displayed little appetite for it.
His solution to the recent defensive issues has been to reinstate the 28-year-old Eric Dier. He passed up the opportunity to give Marc Guehi and Fikayo Tomori any minutes at all against Italy and Germany. Ben White, meanwhile, didn’t even make the squad.

Instead, his faith in Maguire has been unwavering.

So, while that calamitous display against Germany might make Maguire’s position untenable to many fans, it is unlikely to change much to the man picking the team. Recent evidence suggests it is a risk that could haunt him.