Harry Maguire deserves his place in the World Cup squad for England, according to Peter Crouch, despite having a “difficult season” with Manchester United.
Maguire made it into Gareth Southgate’s 26-man squad for the World Cup in Qatar this week. Despite being a key part of the England sides that reached the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup and the final of Euro 2020, the Manchester United defender’s inclusion was one of the more debatable decisions.
His form at club level has been poor, and because he is Manchester United captain, it has led to increased scrutiny. Generally, Erik ten Hag has preferred to use a centre-back pairing of Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez.
In turn, there have even been exit rumours for Maguire. It is believed that Manchester United are open to moving the former Leicester man on in 2023.
Before then, though, he will have his chance to shine with England in the World Cup. And according to Crouch – who feels some of the criticism of the ex-Hull City centre-half has gone too far – Maguire has every right to be there.
“Now, I think I think he’s had a difficult season,” Crouch told the Daily Express.
“But I don’t think he’s ever let England down. You know, I think he’s played a big tournament and always looks like a different player.
“I think what’s happened to him has been incredibly harsh, I think some of the stick is probably past the line. I feel a bit sorry for him.
“But what I would say is England and Manchester United, and the spotlight there, are two different things.
Harry Maguire can enjoy England release
“I know there’s been lots of players over the years who have played for England and, you know, played a lot better for their clubs.
“And I think playing for England is probably a nice release for him from, you know, a lot of the difficulties he’s faced.
“If there was somebody better they’d have taken an opportunity by now, but I don’t think anyone else has taken it.
“And I think he’s probably the best bet at the moment.”
The other centre-backs in the squad with Maguire are Manchester City’s John Stones, Tottenham Hotspur’s Eric Dier, Everton’s Conor Coady and Arsenal’s Benjamin White.
Only Stones has more caps than Maguire in that particular department. Hence, it will be interesting to see if the Manchester United man can make his experience count more than he has been doing at Old Trafford.