Southgate: No doubt Maguire can play at highest level

Harry Maguire Manchester United 2021-22Getty Images

England manager Gareth Southgate says he has no doubt that Harry Maguire can play at the "highest level".

The Manchester United centre-back has come under scrutiny for his performances this season.

Southgate came to Maguire's defence last week when he insisted he had not considered leaving him out of the squad because of his dip in form.

What has been said?

The Three Lions boss has been asked about Maguire's displays once again and has reiterated his faith in the 29-year-old.

"He has got us to a World Cup semi-final and a European Championship final so there's no doubt he's more than capable of playing at the highest level," Southgate told reporters.

"He was very good for us in the autumn. [Manchester United] are in a difficult moment - there could be any number of reasons for that - so that doesn't mean that players can be poor for a couple of years and then still find their way in, and sometimes it depends on competition for positions.

"We've obviously had some forward players out who haven't been in good form but there's direct, experienced replacements for those players, so it is a complicated decision.

"In terms of selection, that's always a difficult conundrum because we've got players who we know have performed well in an England shirt.

"There's got to be some level of scrutiny on how people are playing with their clubs because that's got to be a factor within it and then who's the opponent and who's best-suited to play against the opponent.

"It is a complicated thing and I know everybody has a view on who we should and shouldn't be picking. In the end, we need the best players possible playing at their best level to give ourselves the best chance of winning."

Why is Maguire being criticised?

The United captain has faced the ire of the club's fans for his displays this season.

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Maguire's performance in his side's 4-1 loss to Manchester City increased the pressure on the defender and he was targeted by United supporters when the team crashed out of the Champions League against Atletico Madrid.

Meanwhile, it was reported in early-March that some United players have questioned why he continues to be selected by coach Ralf Rangnick despite his form.

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