‘It can’t continue forever’ - Harry Maguire sent Man Utd warning by England boss Gareth Southgate as playing time dries up
- Maguire is a benchwarmer at United
- Southgate fires a warning to the defender
- The manager also referred to Kalvin Phillips' situation
WHAT HAPPENED? The centre-back has spent the bulk of the season on the bench as he has been pushed down the pecking order by Erik ten Hag below first-choice options Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane. Whereas, Kalvin Phillips is also facing the same struggles at City as he has got sporadic opportunities under Pep Guardiola since moving from Leeds United in the summer. Although Southgate has named both Maguire and Phillips in the England squad for upcoming European qualifiers against Malta and North Macedonia next month, he made it clear that things need to change at the club level for the duo to be eligible for future international call-ups.
WHAT THEY SAID: "Inevitably it’s not a situation that can continue forever. 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 pivot. Of course, the longer that situation goes on the more concerning it is and we’ve got in Marc Guehi, Lewis Dunk, Tyrone Mings, players who are playing well without the same experiences of club European football or international football. But we’ve got to keep searching for competition in that area of the pitch," he told reporters.
Southgate has called upLewis Dunk, who could earn only his second-ever England cap, for impressing with Robert De Zerbi's Brighton which should indicate his future plans.
THE BIGGER PICTURE: The manager also hinted that he might use Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold in midfield after Jurgen Klopp's experiments with the player reaped decent results.
“All things are possible. I don’t think we should rule anything out. I think his ability with the ball we are all aware of, so the opportunity to get him into those areas. There’s still a lot to learn in terms of receiving it more under pressure. A lot of the teams they have played so far, there has been time to receive, a couple of the more recent games he has been pressed a lot more and that has been different. Defending in midfield would be slightly different so there is a new aspect of the game to learn and that’s not going to be perfect to start," Southgate said.
“But I think it is really interesting and he obviously has some attributes that are quite unique... there are different ranges of passing, I would say. He is one that will look forward early and will play passes in behind defences where others maybe don’t have that view first," he added.
IN THREE PHOTOS:
WHAT NEXT? England will face Malta on June 16 before hosting North Macedonia three days later.