Harry Maguire’s Absence Looms Large for Euro 2024

In Gareth Southgate’s evolving England squad, one constant has been the defensive partnership of Harry Maguire and John Stones. Now, injury has shattered this eight-year bond. Maguire’s absence leaves a gaping hole, not just in defence but in the team’s morale.

Southgate didn’t want to break this duo, despite rising talents like Lewis Dunk and Marc Guehi. Maguire’s importance meant the manager considered taking him to Germany injured, willing to miss the opener against Serbia. Southgate had successfully gambled on Maguire’s fitness before, but this time, medical advice ruled it out.

With Stones as the only experienced centre-back, England faces Euro 2024 with a defensive lineup that lacks big-game experience. This is starkly different from the 2006 World Cup squad, which boasted veterans like Rio Ferdinand and John Terry.

Maguire’s resilience has been remarkable. Despite Manchester United’s struggles, he consistently performed for England. Southgate’s unwavering faith in him, amidst calls for his removal, speaks volumes.

“You know how I feel about Harry Maguire and what he has done for England,” Southgate said when announcing the squad. He acknowledged Maguire’s inability to play in the group games, describing him as a “victim” of squad balance.

The decision to exclude Maguire, though right, highlights his significance. His last appearance in September, where he scored an own goal against Scotland, showed rustiness from lack of playtime. Despite such moments, Maguire has rarely let England down, making his absence for Euro 2024 a significant blow.


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