Brighton and former Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana has admitted that he got his assessment of Manchester United’s England star Harry Maguire wrong.
Maguire has proved to be one of the standout stars in the Three Lions’ run to Sunday’s Euro 2020 final. That is despite battling back to fitness after suffering a season-ending ankle injury. Indeed, Gary Neville claimed it was now-or-never to get the 28-year-old in the team for the final group stage game.
Since then, he has further galvanised Gareth Southgate’s men, chipping in with a goal while contributing to three clean sheets.
Before Euro 2020, Maguire was on course to play every Premier League game for a second season running.
Given his impact at club and international level, Lallana has reflected on how he misjudged the centre-back.
“I misjudged Harry Maguire, I don’t mind admitting that,” the 33-year-old wrote in his column for The Times.
“I have always thought he was a very good player, but what this tournament has shown me, and hopefully others, is that he is at the next level: a proven world-class defender.
“One of the things that has been hugely impressive about his performances has been the fact he came back into the team having been out through injury for six weeks. Having suffered injuries, I can vouch for how difficult that is.
“You lack rhythm, you feel a little vulnerable, and so to make the impact Harry has made on one of the biggest stages illustrates not only his ability but also his mentality.”
Maguire watched England’s dismal Euro 2016 campaign from the stands in France. Five years later, he has helped turn his country’s fortunes around, scoring in the quarter-final win over Ukraine.
The United centre-back will start again against Italy on Sunday, with manager Southgate potentially making one change.
While Bukayo Saka has impressed, Neville believes that he may be a substitute for the final.
Phillips ready for Italy test
Leeds United’s Kalvin Phillips is another player who has stood out for England.
Despite Euro 2020 coming as his first major tournament, the midfielder has taken the experiences in his stride.
As such, he is ready for one final test with the aim of making history in England’s first major final since 1966.