Harry Maguire has insisted he was never worried about missing out on a place in England’s World Cup squad, despite poor form and injury problems taking over the first half of the club season with Manchester United.
Maguire had struggled badly for form during the 2021/22 club season off the back of what had actually been a very impressive Euro 2020.
The United skipper was then dropped by new manager Erik ten Hag following two disastrous outings against Brighton and Brentford, before a hamstring injury then ruled him out of seven games.
Maguire returned to play 90 minutes for United in a Premier League win over West Ham. But he was then back on the bench for the club’s final two league games against Aston Villa and Fulham, appearing to have fallen to fourth choice in the centre-back pecking order behind Victor Lindelof and first-choice duo Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane.
Yet even with his club form a cause for concern, Maguire has remained an England regular throughout – he started both games against Italy and Hungary in September even after being dropped by Ten Hag in Manchester.
Maguire did get the nod by Southgate for England’s World Cup opener against Iran on Monday, suggesting he is likely to start every subsequent match – fitness permitting.
“I have great belief in myself. When I go on the training pitch I work as hard as possible and that gives you good preparation to perform to the best level,” he said ahead of facing the upcoming clash with the United States on Friday night.
The 29-year-old has also revealed putting in more work to ensure he would fit.
“I want to be playing every week for my club, so I’m going to fight to get back into the team, but I feel fresh and I knew the World Cup was coming up so I put in the extra shifts,” he added.
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Maguire’s national team partner, Manchester City’s John Stones, also offered his support.
“Harry hasn’t played much at his club, but to come in and play like he did – I don’t think anyone saw a bit of rust on him,” Stones noted.
“That’s great credit to him and I’m so happy for him and everyone who played. As a player you want and need to be playing and have a good rhythm. But for him to come in to play as he did is credit to him.”