England manager Gareth Southgate has came out in support of Harry Maguire, hailing him as the best centre-back at Manchester United.
The defender endured a career-worst season at club level in 2021/22 and his performances were regularly cited as a key reason why United struggled for form throughout the campaign.
Despite this, Southgate has stuck with Maguire at international level, calling the centre-back up for England’s upcoming Nations League games against Germany, Hungary and Italy.
Speaking ahead of the games, Southgate was quick to defend Maguire, stating that criticism of his performances have been unwarranted.
“There’s obviously a big change around at Manchester United and that’s going to affect everything. For me, he’s still their best centre-back – I’m sure the new manager will watch the games back and have his own view.
“For us, with all our data across the season, he’s been the same. Although the perception is that he is at a certain level, he’s still among our top two or three. The fact is that Harry and John have been our best pairing.”
Southgate also took the time to discuss Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford, who are not in the squad for England’s games this June, saying: “They can get back [into the squad] because there’s enough games at the beginning of next season for people to play their way in. But, of course, it’s more difficult, the closer we get.
“They have to start playing well for their club. Neither of them have really played at the end of the season. Playing for England is a consequence of what you’re doing for your club and you’ve got to get that bit right.”