Suppose England and France advance and meet in the final of EURO 2024. In the last 20 minutes, England is playing well. They are dominating possession and making every run. They were attacking from the back, but then the ball fell to Harry Maguire. His pass, intended for Luke Shaw, went straight to Antoine Griezman, the striker found Kylian Mbappe, who would go past Maguire, past Jordan Pickford and lead France to victory.
If that scenario happens, fans will be in pain, but certainly not surprised after what Maguire did in many important moments. The familiar question will once again be asked: Why is Gareth Southgate so attached to Maguire when there are so many warning signs? This morning, Maguire’s mistake in the 24th minute helped North Macedonia revive. A misdirected pass from the midfielder started an attack that he then luckily escaped a penalty.
England have other options in defense. Maguire has regained his place at Manchester United and is undoubtedly a brave and dedicated defender. But it’s still hard to ignore his flaws. One slip can make a big difference in knockout football. Maguire played well at last year’s World Cup, but he still lost to Olivier Giroud when the striker scored the winning goal for France against England in the round of 8 strongest teams. There was another mistake against Italy in March and an own goal against Scotland in September.
Southgate remains defiant, refusing to leave Maguire out, relying on his partnership with John Stones. But the question is whether this coach’s patience will run out. Sometimes North Macedonia actively targets Maguire. Aside from the moments where Maguire made things difficult for himself, he didn’t have too much to do as the Three Lions controlled the ball 75% of the time. But Maguire contributed greatly to 25% of the opponent’s possession, losing the ball 20 times.
In the second half, he had even more inept defenses, requiring Declan Rice to save him. Meanwhile, another midfielder of the England team, Marc Guehi, passed the match easily and impressed.
Guehi’s appearance puts Maguire in danger. Crystal Palace’s centre-back, although inexperienced, is agile, alert and calm when holding the ball. Guehi, who is ranked ahead of Lewis Dunk, Fikayo Tomori and Ezri Konsa in the order of selection, is playing hard. The likelihood of him being selected for the Stones is increasing. Maguire is getting weaker. He must calm down, otherwise the MU star may make England pay the price.
Thanh Vu | 09:40 November 21, 2023