Maguire’s Season Goes from Bad to Worse
As if Harry Maguire’s season couldn’t get any worse, the England defender endured a torrid time at Wembley last night as he was sent off after just 30 minutes against Denmark in the Nations League qualifier. He looks like a man devoid of confidence after a summer of controversy, where he was convicted of assaulting a police officer whilst on holiday in Greece. With United fans betting that he will be dropped upon his return to Manchester, we ask what can Maguire do to save his season?
It was a night for Maguire and England to forget on a clear cool October even in the capital. With England, adopting a back 3 defensive line, Maguire looked ill at ease, receiving a yellow card early in the game for a reckless challenge on Yussuf Poulsen, followed up by bringing down Kasper Dolberg for a dangerous challenge. It looked as though Maguire did adapt to the back 3 system at any point for the few minutes that he was on the pitch.
The misery continued for England when England conceded a penalty on 34 minutes when Kyle Walker brought down Thomas Delaney. Christian Eriksen stepped up and coolly slotted home the penalty to score the only goal of the evening and give the Danes a 1-0 victory. England lost their discipline completely after that and Reece James was given a red card after the final whistle for confronting the referee.
The result and indeed the manner of the defeat will be of huge disappointment for Southgate, who only a few days earlier beat the world ranked number 1 team in Belgium 1-0. As is always the way with England, as soon as they seem to be building something, the wheels fall off. Let’s hope that they can regroup for their next qualifying game.
Back to Maguire. He just hasn’t seemed the same player since his arrest and conviction in Greece over the summer. There is no doubt that it was a traumatic experience for the England and Manchester United defender. He is clearly still rattled from it and needs time to regroup and get his head straight. An element that is often overlooked for all sports stars is the psychology of the game. If your head goes, then performances will inevitably suffer.
Solskjaer and Southgate now have a conundrum. Do they leave him out and give him time to regroup? Or keep faith in him and offer to support him through this torrid time? The next few weeks will be crucial and we’ll see which route both managers decide to take.