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French media has pinpointed the 'weak link' in the England team

Josh Lawless

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French media has pinpointed the 'weak link' in the England team

The media in France have pinpointed Harry Maguire as England's "weak link" but it couldn't be further from the truth.

England and France meet in a huge World Cup quarter-final on Saturday at the Al Bayt Stadium in what is their first meeting since the Three Lions lost 3-2 to Les Bleus in a 2017 friendly.

The two set up the showdown after getting past Poland and Senegal respectively. It's one of the most eagerly-anticipated matches of the tournament and already there's been media coverage aplenty from both nations.

Across the channel, L'Equipe have laid into Maguire and described him as "slow". There was also a focus on the intriguing battle between Kyle Walker and Kylian Mbappe, who has scored five goals in the tournament so far.

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And L'Equipe also praised Jude Bellingham, arguably England's stand-out performer in Qatar thus far.

“The winner will not be the team that has the most possession, but the one that uses it with the most suddenness," the newspaper wrote.

"Harry Maguire's slowness could prove detrimental to the England rear guard, which Gareth Southgate could strengthen by abandoning his 4-3-3 for a 3-4-3, as he does every time he faces the best teams.

"The face-off between Kylian Mbappe and Kyle Walker, who has just returned from a long groin injury that kept him away from the field for almost two months, will be key to unlocking the match.

"The Three Lions have often struggled against midfielders as skilled with the ball as Adrien Rabiot or Antoine Griezmann, but this time they may have their say thanks to Jude Bellingham, who has been a dominant box-to-box player in the tournament."

But the idea that Maguire is a weakness for England suggests the journalist who wrote the article hasn't paid attention to his performances.

Image: Alamy
Image: Alamy

While the Manchester United captain has struggled massively and finds himself out of the side, he steps up to the plate in an England shirt.

He's helped England keep three clean sheets in four games - the best record in the tournament - and has been in fine form at the back alongside John Stones.

The former Leicester City defender has also been a pivotal weapon on set plays, setting up Bukayo Saka against Iran, hitting the bar and somehow being denied a penalty.

Maguire is well on course to be named in the Team of the Tournament yet again after his Euro 2020 heroics.

Of the 215 who have featured so far, no defender has had more touches in the opposition box than Maguire with 11 and he's also in the top five for shots (four) and passes completed (276).

Image: Alamy
Image: Alamy

What's more, he is in the top ten per cent with his 14 clearances - eight of which he made with his trusty 'Slabhead'.

United Maguire and England Maguire are two different players and here's hoping we see the 29-year-old put in another assured display against the holders.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: France, England, Football World Cup

Josh Lawless
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