Former England defender Danny Mills has supported Gareth Southgate’s decision to stand by Harry Maguire and says the likes of Ben White are not good enough to replace him.
Southgate decided to stick by Maguire despite being dropped by Manchester United coach Erik ten Hag. Not only did Maguire get a place in the England squad, but he also started both Nations League games against Italy and Germany.
Unfortunately for Southgate and the United man he had a night to forget. Firstly he gave away a penalty following a poor pass and then he was robbed of possession high up the field, which resulted in Germany’s second goal in the 3-3 draw.
Maguire, 29, has been the mainstay of Southgate’s England side over the last few years and he was named in the Euro 2020 team of the tournament after helping England into the final.
However, things have gone downhill since then with Maguire coming under increasing scrutiny. And after being dropped by Ten Hag after the first two games of the season, Maguire’s place in the England set-up was in doubt.
Jamie Carragher believes Southgate was correct to give Maguire a chance to impress once again. And Mills is also in agreement, because he does not believe the potential replacements are good enough.
England ‘weak’ in defence
Mills told talkSPORT: “I think it’s really difficult in defence because there is a real lack of quality at centre-half.
“It’s a big issue. Lack of experience and quality in there. Maguire has been there, seen it, done it in big tournaments.
“[John] Stones picks up another injury. If he is not fit, you have to pick Eric Dier, because who else is there?
“White isn’t good enough to play centre-back for Arsenal. Fikayo Tomori and Marc Guehi have six caps between them.
“You’re going into a major tournament. It’s not about playing scintillating football, it’s about not losing games.
“England will get out of the group and then it’s about beating the big teams. You need players you know who have experience in that.
“You can’t throw Tomori and Guehi into that.
“Maguire hasn’t been playing so you need to give him game time. He missed a load of games leading up to the Euros and got into the team of the tournament.
“Defensively, we are weak. A couple of injuries and we are in serious trouble. Maguire has to play because there aren’t the options.”
Mings is ‘terrible’
England hopefuls Tomori, Guehi and White will all have designs on a place in the World Cup squad for Qatar. Mills though believes the step up to international level cannot be underestimated.
“They’re not international quality. The step up is massive, absolutely huge,” added Mills.
“You can’t just throw untried, untested players in. Especially in a partnership.
“I think Coady is next on the list. You know what you’re going to get, he’s got a few caps, he’s solid, he’s steady, he’s a good lad, he’s a good pro.
“He won’t cause issues if he’s not getting picked.”
Asked why Aston Villa’s Tyrone Mings, part of the Euro 2020 squad, isn’t an option, Mills added: “Because he’s terrible. I think Maguire is better on the ball.”