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"Gareth Southgate Shouldn't Have Taken Harry Maguire" Explains Rio Ferdinand

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"Gareth Southgate Shouldn't Have Taken Harry Maguire" Explains Rio Ferdinand

Rio Ferdinand has criticised England boss Gareth Southgate for picking Harry Maguire for his Euro 2020 squad, despite the injury that kept the Manchester Unite defender out of the end of the season.

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Maguire played an incredible run of games from August 2019, when he joined United, playing every minute of every league game until coming off injured just a few weeks ago against Aston Villa.

The centre back has been unavailable since, missing the final five games of the season for his club, including the final of the Europa League.

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Despite that, the 28-year-old has been picked as just one of four centre backs in Southgate's squad for the Euros this summer and Ferdinand, who was part of the 'Golden Generation' that often saw injured players selected, doesn't believe it was the right decision.

"England needed another centre back," he told his YouTube channel FIVE, "This [squad] tells me he [Southgate] is definitely playing three at the back.

"Harry Maguire's not even fit, I wouldn't even take Maguire. You're not fit, you're not going to be fit for ages, it doesn't make sense.

"I've been in squads with players who haven't been fit and they don't perform when they're not themselves.

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Maguire in a protective boot and needing crutches just a few weeks ago. Image: PA Images
Maguire in a protective boot and needing crutches just a few weeks ago. Image: PA Images

"It happened with Becks [David Beckham] and Wazza [Wayne Rooney]. As good as Maguire is, he's not a Becks or a Wazza.

"I don't think you should take someone who's not 100% fit. It's hard to come back and get into a rhythm.

"That narrative ends up taking over the squad and it becomes the conversation and a distraction. Do we really need that? It's pointless I think. Hopefully he proves me wrong, I would love it if he did."

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Maguire would almost certainly be the Three Lions' first choice centre back alongside John Stones, if he were fit.

Gary Neville said in April that the former Leicester City centre back was England's most important player because he was even more difficult to replace than Harry Kane.

Without him, Southgate has Tyrone Mings and Conor Coady, who usually plays in a back three, to choose from whilst Kyle Walker and Reece James have both played on the right of a back three for club or country.

Henderson's been out injured since February. Image: PA Images
Henderson's been out injured since February. Image: PA Images
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Maguire isn't even the only player in the squad with a question mark by his name, with Southgate admitting that even Jordan Henderson, out injured since February, is still a risk.

"He's [Maguire] got a bit to do, like Jordan Henderson, to be available. But we feel the possibility that they can play a part, and the fact they're such fantastic characters to have around the group...

"Hendo's leadership and presence is already having an effect on other people, especially the younger ones in the group, but all of the others as well.

"Given we're able to pick 26, we felt the opportunity to have those two with us was straightforward."

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With only four out and out centre backs and five central midfielders in his squad of 26, having one injured in each position is hardly ideal. Fortunately all those right backs can play in several positions...

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Harry Maguire, Football, Manchester United, Euro 2020, England, Rio Ferdinand, Gareth Southgate

Ryan Sidle
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