England manager Gareth Southgate has proved Rio Ferdinand’s Harry Maguire comments wrong with his most recent squad selections
The Three Lions will face Italy and Germany in the Nations League during the international break in their final competitive matches before the winter World Cup in Qatar. United captain Maguire has found minutes hard to come by following the heavy defeat to Brentford in the Premier League.
Since then, Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane have built a good partnership at the back and Maguire has failed to get a look-in. Ferdinand warned on his Vibe with Five podcast that the 29-year-old could struggle to get into the England squad if his United teammates continued to out-perform him.
He said: “The centre-back partnership have played two games now and you go ‘woah’, Harry Maguire’s sitting there and scratching his head thinking not even about United, probably thinking United immediately now but he’s looking long-term and thinking England.
“‘I could not be in the England team because I won’t be playing if this continues, if these two strike up the partnership that it looks like it’s mustering up together now, I won’t play for not only Man United but England will be a problem for me.’
If I’m Harry Maguire, there’s concern for me there but Erik ten Hag has to be selfish and think about one thing and Man United, that’s it. I think the way he spoke about Varane in the first game, his experience, what he brought to the team and other players, I think it’s quite telling that he’s going to be the first name on the teamsheet in terms of a defender and Martinez has got the shirt at the moment and he doesn’t look like he’s going to let that go.”
Currently, Ferdinand’s concerns about Maguire not getting an England spot seem unfounded. The centre-back has joined fellow out-of-favour United man Luke Shaw in the England squad.
Explaining his decision, Southgate said: “Clearly, we have a number of players including Ben Chilwell, Luke Shaw, Harry Maguire and Kalvin Phillips who are not playing a lot of minutes with their club. It is not ideal, but we feel they have been, and can be, important players for us.
“It is not a perfect situation but there is still a lot of football to be played before Qatar.”