Gareth Southgate has insisted that he can’t continue to call-up Harry Maguire for England duty if he isn’t playing regular club football.
The Man Utd captain has almost totally fallen out of favour at Old Trafford this season under new manager Erik ten Hag, making just seven starts in the Premier League during the 2022/23 campaign thus far.
Due to this lack of gametime, and generally under-par performances when he is on the field, Southgate’s decision to select the defender for the last number of Three Lions squads has been called into question.
Maguire was once again called up by Southgate for England duty this week – along with Kalvin Phillips, who has managed just one Premier League start at Manchester City – and during his press conference announcing the squad, the manager was notably questioned about both players’ selections.
“Inevitably it’s not a situation that can continue on forever, “Southgate explained. “It’s like Kalvin Phillips, they are important players for us and with Kalvin we haven’t got many players who can play as that single [midfield] pivot.”
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Elsewhere in defence there was a much deserved re-call for Trent Alexander-Arnold following a string of impressive performance for Liverpool at the tail-end of the season.
Speaking about Alexander-Arnold, Southgate was keen to stress how good a relationship he has with the player despite recent England snubs.
“Contrary to what might be the mood music – I have a really good relationship with him and we talk a lot about his game, football,” Southgate continued.
“I’ve always recognised his qualities as a player but he’s just been unlucky that we’ve got Walker, who has just had three of the best games I’ve seen from a right-back, Trippier who has probably been one of the outstanding players this season, Reece James also.”
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