Former Manchester United midfielder Luke Chadwick believes Harry Maguire deserves more credit for his performances and leadership for both club and country in recent times.
Maguire has been something of a divisive figure for both Man Utd and England, but he was a key performer yesterday as the Three Lions beat Germany 2-0 to progress into the quarter-finals of Euro 2020.
Chadwick was pleased to see Maguire and fellow United player Luke Shaw have such strong games for England, but admitted Maguire is perhaps too underrated, considering how important he clearly is to England manager Gareth Southgate.
“Yeah definitely (Maguire deserves more credit), he’s had a fantastic season for Man United, and obviously a brilliant World Cup at the last tournament,” Chadwick told CaughtOffside.
“He’s a real talisman for England and you can see what Southgate thinks of him. He’s a real leader at the back, and so assured on the ball as well, especially when England play three at the back.
“Luke Shaw also had a brilliant impact yesterday – a great ball for the goal, and obviously it’s another clean sheet, with two United players playing a key part in that. Defensively, England look fantastic at the moment. If that continues they’re sure to be there or thereabouts at the end of the tournament.”
Chadwick was generally pleased with how strong England looked defensively, saying it bodes well for the rest of the tournament as they arguably look better in that department than any other team at the moment.
“I think defensively England are the best team, no goals conceded, Southgate has them set up quite deep and hitting teams on the counter attack,” Chadwick said.
“We conceded some chances against Germany, but then the goalkeeper Jordan Pickford was fantastic, made a couple of world class saves. If we get that right, you have every opportunity in major tournaments.
“I think we went into the tournament a little worried about the defence and praising the great attacking options we’ve got, but it’s the defence that’s really been superb so far, whether it’s Stones, or Mings when he was playing, Trippier, Walker, they’ve all been fantastic. The whole team is set up really well.
“Obviously Harry Kane’s had a lot of criticism so far, but if the defensive setup is right, and with the attacking threat we’ve got on the pitch and on the bench, it really bodes well.”
One United player yet to make an impact is Marcus Rashford, who has struggled to get into this team due to so much competition up front.
Chadwick thinks the Red Devils forward faces a very tough battle getting into the wide positions ahead of the likes of Raheem Sterling, Bukayo Saka, Jack Grealish and Phil Foden, but thinks he could still have a role to play as a super-sub, most likely in a central role as an alternative to Harry Kane.
“I think Rashford is going to struggle to get into the wide positions, I think Southgate sees him as the second choice striker,” Chadwick said. “There was a moment when Kane was struggling with a knock and might’ve gone off, and then I think we might’ve seen Rashford come on in that number 9 position.
“It is tough for him at the minute, no one really expected Saka to be in the team but he’s made that place his own in the last couple of gams, and Sterling’s scoring goals, which we’re not going to complain about! It is tough for Rashford and for Jadon Sancho at the moment, but I’m sure if called upon they’ve got the attributes to make an impact.”