Gareth Southgate breaks his one England rule with loyalty to Harry Maguire
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Gareth Southgate has broken his one England rule with his continued loyalty to Harry Maguire.
On Monday, England officially secured the highest possible group-stage seeding for Euro 2024, after coming from behind to draw 1-1 at North Macedonia.
Southgate’s men, who beat their opponents 7-0 back in June, fell behind in the first half to a team with just four wins from 14, before labouring to a draw with another indifferent display.
Nevertheless, the Three Lions secured the point they needed to wrap up a Pot 1 spot when the Euro 2024 draw takes place on December 2.
One of the less convincing performances was from Maguire, who gifted North Macedonia a good opportunity in the first half.
The United man, who until recently, had been in dismal form for his club, played a poor pass into the path of a North Macedonian player, which was then followed by the centre-back appearing to bundle Elif Elmas over in the box in recovery.
Maguire was under no pressure when he gifted possession to Bojan Miovski and was fortunate not to be penalised for his clumsy challenge on Elmas. While the North Macedonia forward’s fall was exaggerated, Maguire was not in control.
Amid the emergence of Marc Geuhi and Levi Colwill in the past two seasons, both of whom have been in impressive form for club and country, Maguire’s place in the England team has become harder to justify.
And should Southgate continue to pick to £80million United star, he would be breaking the one rule he set himself upon taking the England job, initially on an interim basis back in 2016.
At the time Southgate warned his England stars that selection would not be based on reputation, but instead, on form.
Indeed, he told the Daily Telegraph in March 2017: “I'm very conscious I've got to get the balance right because ultimately my responsibility is to produce a winning England team.
"I never pick on reputation - form has to come into it. You have to look at the opposition and the type of game you're expecting and select the players best suited to that.”