Harry Maguire said he was proud of himself for bouncing back from a troubled time and recovering to play a key role in England’s quest to become European champions.
Maguire, ready to team up with John Stones in central defense when England face Ukraine in the Euro 2020 quarter-finals on Saturday night, has found himself under close scrutiny following allegations of a violent altercation with the police while on vacation on the Greek island of Mykonos last summer. .
The human rights defender was convicted of aggravated assault, resisting arrest and attempted bribery by a Greek court – he denies the charges and has appealed – and endured a difficult period on the ground at the start of the campaign. last season, struggling when Manchester United lost 6-1 at home to Tottenham in the Premier League.
However, Gareth Southgate has resisted calls to deprive Maguire of his place in England, even after the 28-year-old was sent off in the Nations League loss to Denmark last October, and the manager’s faith has been awarded this summer. Maguire, who excelled in the round of 16 victory over Germany, has been outstanding since returning from the ankle injury that threatened to cost him his Euro spot and he believes his resilience has it. helped silence his critics.
“Every player goes through periods of ups and downs,” Maguire said. “This is where you really show your character to get over that time and that’s something I’m really proud of in myself. When you play for Manchester United every bad game you’ve had turns into a really bad period of form.
“I remember the game against Tottenham where we were really bad and conceded six goals. All of a sudden the form period got excruciating for me and the rest of the guys just in one game, but that’s what happens and it’s what you expect. It’s about how you deal with it, how you bounce back. First and foremost you work hard off the pitch and bring it onto the pitch and that gives you the confidence to play well.
Southgate has always backed Maguire, who missed England’s first two group matches, and his decision to bet on the United captain’s fitness has paid off so far. England are yet to concede a goal and Maguire has formed a solid partnership with the Stones since joining to replace Tyrone Mings.
“Relations outside the field can also be applied on the ground,” said Maguire. “With me and John, he doesn’t mind telling me things that I could do better or if I’ve done something wrong. And I don’t mind telling him.
“It’s about making sure we’re both mentally prepared and focused throughout the game. The way we are both comfortable on the ball helps each other and if you are calm and collected it carries over to the rest of the squad. It’s a big part of being a center-back. You need to bring composure and a real sense of authority to the rest of the team. John’s has had an exceptional tournament so far.
Maguire is one warning away from missing a potential semi-final against the Czech Republic or Denmark, but he won’t let the possibility of being suspended affect his focus against Ukraine.
“I didn’t think beyond this quarter-final,” he said. “I will enter the game by playing my normal game. It’s not often that you play in a quarterfinal of a major tournament, so for me looking beyond that would be silly.
Maguire’s message was simple: England must be courageous in Rome. “We haven’t had a setback,” he said of the tournament so far. “In the past experience we’ve had setbacks and we’ve overcome them, so we’re going to use it to our advantage. We’re talking about different scenarios, but of course we want to play aggressive. We don’t want to play with fear.
Maguire added that he is delighted to play alongside Jadon Sancho at Old Trafford next season. The England winger, who has barely featured in this tournament so far, is set to seal his move to United from Borussia Dortmund.
“Jadon is a top player,” said Maguire. “He has exceptional talent even though he is still very young. He’s a big boy.