Gabby Agbonlahor praises under-siege Harry Maguire for NOT quitting international football – but says the England defender gets too comfortable when he thinks it’s too easy
- Gabby Agbonlahor praises Harry Maguire for not quitting international football
- Maguire has come in for regular criticism in recent months for club and country
- He made two mistakes that led to two Germany goals in the 3-3 draw vs England
- Agbonlahor says most players would’ve struggled with the abuse Maguire’s had
- But the ex-Villa striker insists Maguire must remain focused to cut out mistakes
- Click here for all the latest World Cup 2022 news and updates
Gabby Agbonlahor has heaped praise on Harry Maguire for not quitting England despite all the abuse he’s received – but insists he needs to stay focused when playing to cut out the mistakes.
Maguire, 29, was one of England’s star performers during their run to the European Championship final last year but finds himself in a slump for both club and country.
The Manchester United captain was at fault for two of the goals England conceded in Monday’s 3-3 draw against Germany, casting further doubt on his international future and increasing calls for the centre back to be dropped for the World Cup.
Gabby Agbonlahor (right) praised Harry Maguire (left) for not quitting international football
Even before the Nations League clash kicked off, Maguire’s name was greeted with a mixed reception as it was read out before a positive chant eventually broke out in the first-half.
Agbonlahor believes Maguire deserves credit for sticking with representing his country and turning up every time he’s called upon by Gareth Southgate, before insisting the defender deserves a spot on the plane to Qatar in November.
‘We have to give Harry Maguire credit,’ Agbonlahor told talkSPORT. ‘A lot of other players would have quit international football with the stick that he’s got, the abuse, constant negative stories you read about him.
‘So you’ve got to credit him, he doesn’t let it affect him, turns up every international break and gives his all for England.
Maguire had a difficult game against Germany on Monday which saw him concede a penalty
Maguire also gave the ball away for Germany’s second goal before England fought back
‘The first half for me, I thought he did very well. Playing from the back very comfortably, he was making challenges – he looked comfortable in that defence.
‘The problem with Harry Maguire sometimes is that, when he’s comfortable, he starts to think it’s too easy. And that’s what happened for the penalty. He receives the ball, it’s a sloppy pass intercepted, a player runs at him and he gives away the penalty.
‘So he’ll be more angry at that, his concentration, and because he was having a good game until then.
‘Then in his mind, he’s probably thinking “Oh OK, everybody going to be like, Maguire has give away a penalty” so it will affect him for the rest of the game, like it did. He kept giving fouls away and wasn’t the same [like the first half].
Maguire’s name received a mixed reception when it was read out prior to kick-off at Wembley
‘For me, I would still play him in the World Cup – but it has to be in a back three, not in a back two.’
Former England defender Gary Neville has also urged Maguire to see a psychologist to help him through his slump in form.
‘I’ve been there,’ said Neville. ‘Every player has. When I lost my confidence, I saw a psychologist to help me through those moments.
‘But there’s nothing you can do other than show up, try your best and not give in.
‘At some point, his form will return. I would suggest he does what I did. I did go and see my doctor at Manchester United. I did go and see a psychologist. You do need external help at times.’
Gary Neville thinks Maguire should seek help from a psychologist, but still go to the World Cup
England boss Gareth Southgate held a heart-to-heart with the embattled defender on Monday
England boss Gareth Southgate held heart-to-heart talks for around five minutes with Maguire in the Wembley tunnel on Monday night after the 29-year-old’s latest error-strewn display.
Southgate has given Maguire his unequivocal backing by starting him against Germany and in Italy last Friday, as well as publicly backing him more than once — a theme that continued on Monday.
Southgate said: ‘I know everybody says he’s important to me, he’s important to us! It’s us. It’s not me. Why do we pick him? Because he’s one of the players who gives us the best chance of winning. We should all be wanting a Harry Maguire who’s playing regularly and with confidence.
‘That applies to quite a few players but he’s the one everything lands on which must be a tough space for him. But he’s showing tremendous character.’