Former England star says Harry Maguire enduring same ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’

Date published: Wednesday 28th September 2022 9:41 - Will Ford

England defender Harry Maguire puts his hand on his head

Former England goalkeeper David James says he knows how Harry Maguire feels as the Manchester United star endures a “self-fulfilling prophecy”.

Maguire has endured a torrid season so far, starting just three games for the Red Devils despite being club captain, losing all three, and becoming the punching bag for England even before his disastrous game against Germany on Monday.

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Maguire was at fault for two of the three Germany goals at Wembley, bringing Jamal Musiala down in the box to concede a penalty having gifted him possession, then giving the ball away high up the pitch before Kai Havertz’s fine finish after a counter-attack.

The two blunders have led to widespread calls for the centre-back to be dropped, ramping up the pressure on him and manager Gareth Southgate with the World Cup on the horizon.

James says people are waiting for Maguire to make a mistake, and knows how that feels.

“I feel for Harry Maguire on the basis where he doesn’t seem like he can do a lot right in people’s eyes,” James told GGRecon.

“I’ve been in that position myself where it’s almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy, where people wait for you to make a mistake and do something that’s not quite right, and that’s what they were expecting.”

James said he thought Maguire was an integral part of the England squad, regardless of his form, and backed him to start for the Three Lions at the World Cup.

“I’m a Harry Maguire fan,” James added. “Harry’s an integral part of that squad and was a major reason behind why England got to the final of the European Championships. Providing that he’s fit, he’d be in England’s starting line-up and he’ll play well.”

Southgate opened up after the 3-3 draw with Germany on his reasons for selecting Maguire.

“I know everybody says he’s important to me, he’s important to us! It’s us. It’s not me,” the England manager said. “Why do we pick him? Because he’s one of the players who gives us the best chance of winning.

“We should all be wanting a Harry Maguire who’s playing regularly and with confidence.

“That applies to quite a few players but he’s the one everything lands on which must be a tough space for him. But he’s showing tremendous character.”


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