Harry Maguire fights back and says he’s earned Southgate’s ‘trust’ for England

Harry Maguire has come out fighting after launching a passionate case for his own defence in Doha.

If the general public had been picking the England squad for Qatar 2022 instead of Gareth Southgate, the chances are Maguire wouldn't have needed to pack a suitcase. He might remain an English rock at international level.

But at his club the centre back has found himself out in the cold, having been shunted to Siberia by Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag. It has sparked a huge debate about if Southgate should continue to keep the faith with someone who has become a figure of fun in the eyes of the Old Trafford faithful.

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But the truth is that Maguire rarely lets his country down. It's why he is still one of the first names on Southgate's team sheet – and why he will be winning his 50th cap when the Three Lions take on the USA in their second game of Group B tonight (Fri).

Maguire insists he's never doubted himself and believes he's earned the right to keep his place in he side. He said: "I have great belief in myself. I'm on the training pitch as much as possible and wherever it is, I give my all.

"Being picked for your country is such a huge privilege. It's the pinnacle of anybody's footballing career, to play at a major tournament.
"The World Cup is special. It's the biggest tournament in the world. Obviously you have a fear of not being in the squad, but I had great belief considering what I've done during the 49 caps I've played for England.

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"I've earned the trust to be in the squad and available for selection." Maguire accepts criticism is now part of his life – and that if someone like former team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo gets stick then so must everyone else.

He said: "As a footballer, nobody likes being criticised. "I've played with Cristiano Ronaldo for the last couple of years and in my opinion he's one of the greatest players to ever kick a football.

"He gets criticised day in and day out, so if its going to happen to him, and with the position I'm in at Manchester United, it's going to be part and parcel of the game. He's the greatest player, for me, to ever kick a ball and he gets criticised daily, so it's going to happen to each and every one of us. You've just got to work hard, go into training. That's what I always tell myself. That's all you can do."

Maguire has blocked out the news from home that United are up for sale, but did fire a warning to Ten Hag that he wants his place back once he's finished helping England's latest bid to conquer the world. He added: "Obviously I want to be playing every week for my club – and I'm going to fight to get back into the team.

"It's not what or where I wanted to be, but I feel fresh. I've worked hard to make sure I'm ready whenever I get the opportunity to play. I knew the World Cup was coming up so I put in some extra shifts in training and kept myself ticking over. I feel good. I'm ready to go to help the team try and win another game."

ENGLAND (4-3-3): Pickford; Trippier, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Mount, Bellingham, Rice; Sterling, Kane, Saka.

REFEREE: Jesus Valenzuela (VEN)

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