Harry Redknapp is adamant that under-pressure Manchester United star Harry Maguire should start for England at the upcoming World Cup.
Maguire, 29, is currently on the peripheries at Old Trafford after a poor beginning to the campaign. The former Leicester City stopper started the first two Premier League games of 2022-2023. But, after failing to convince Erik Ten Hag, he was relegated to the substitutes bench.
And a 10-minute cameo at the end of the Red Devils 3-1 triumph over Arsenal on September 4 was his last top-flight action. The ex-Sheffield United centre-back was given the nod for the 1-0 Europa League loss to Real Sociedad.
But he was benched for the following trip to FC Sheriff and handed just 60 seconds of action in a 2-0 success. Maguire started against both Italy and Germany during the recent international break.
But he endured a nightmare outing against the Germans. The man with 48 Three Lions caps gave away a penalty before losing possession which led to their second goal.
Southgate has been criticised for sticking with the centre-half. But Redknapp has backed the England boss and sees things from a different perspective.
“If I was picking the side to face Iran on November 21, Harry would be in it, for sure,” he wrote in The Sun. “You don’t need me to say he’s had a rough time of things lately. Maguire’s such a straight guy, he’d tell you that himself.
“Yes, he’s made a few ricks although getting as much grief as he is doesn’t make it any easier.
“But Harry is a really decent lad and the one thing he won’t do is shy away from it all. He’s also a strong enough character – and good enough player – to come through it.”
Redknapp tips Maguire for Qatar start
Maguire is not used to being on the bench having been a regular starter for both Manchester United and country. Ten Hag has shown he is not afraid to take tough decisions, pairing Lisandro Martinez with Raphael Varane in the United rearguard.
And the Dutchman’s tactics have paid off, with the north-west giants winning four consecutive league games.
Maguire will need to work hard to regain his place. But Redknapp feels he has a quality that lends itself to playing at the top level of the sport.
“In the big games – and they don’t come any bigger than the World Cup – you need a big presence, and he’s certainly that,” he added. “On the pitch and in the dressing room.
“Fair enough, he wasn’t great against Germany but he never let England down in Russia and if he gets the chance, I’m sure he won’t in Qatar either.
“I’d have him in the middle of a back three with John Stones and Kyle Walker or Eric Dier either side. They are quick enough to deal with the full-back positions.”
And the former Tottenham boss feels his old-school attitude could serve the national side well.
“He will never be the quickest but he’s what I call a ‘proper’ defender, like Steve Bruce,” he continued. “Throws himself into challenges, never hides, blocks everything, body on the line every time.
“You need guys like that, just as much as you need the silkier footballers.”