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Misfiring Maguire & Pickford offered England warning by Three Lions legend Shearer

10:40 GMT+3 14/10/2019
Harry Maguire Czech Republic England
Gareth Southgate is being tipped to shuffle his defensive pack, with Manchester United and Everton stars among those struggling for form at present

Misfiring Harry Maguire and Jordan Pickford have been warned that their England places are under threat, with Alan Shearer expecting Gareth Southgate to make changes to his defence.

It would be a surprise if a commanding centre-half from Manchester United and Everton’s first-choice goalkeeper are the men to lose their spots with the Three Lions.

Maguire became the most expensive defender on the planet when making an £80 million ($98m) move to Old Trafford over the summer, while Pickford is Britain’s costliest shot-stopper.

Their quality remains without question, even during the struggle for domestic and international form that they are both enduring.

With that in mind, the likes of Tottenham full-back Danny Rose and Toffees centre-back Michael Keane could be in greater danger of slipping down the pecking order.

Shearer feels changes are required on the back of a disappointing Euro 2020 qualifying defeat to the Czech Republic, with the ex-England striker telling The Sun ahead of a meeting with Bulgaria: “You could make a case for Friday’s team being a surprise as four of the back five are going through a tough spell.

“Jordan Pickford and Michael Keane with Everton, Harry Maguire with Manchester United and Danny Rose with Tottenham.

“You look at their form and their club results and they weren’t exactly bouncing going into the international break.

“Perhaps you would like to think they could go in fresh and look at it as an opportunity but clearly they didn’t do that.

“I fully expect changes at the back and maybe even in the formation.

“Gareth started with a 4-2-3-1 but changed it soon enough when it clearly wasn’t working. But I think he’s still searching for what he feels is the right system and personnel to fill it.”

A 2-1 reversal against the Czechs has seen an England team which reached the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup and 2019 Nations League face uncomfortable questions for the first time in a while.

Shearer says that is to be expected, but believes positivity can be returned to the ranks.

A man with 30 goals for the Three Lions to his name, added: “No one has labelled the new England team ‘great’ but we are certainly better than we showed on Friday.

“Thankfully, they have the chance to put it right straight away in Bulgaria and secure qualification for the Euros.

“When you lose — and play that badly — you want a game immediately after and they’ve got that.

“Everyone is allowed a below-par performance from time to time but it’s how you react.

“Of course Friday’s performance is going to be criticised and scrutinised but you’re playing for England, you should expect that.

“And what they should also expect is more changes from Southgate. When you’ve played like that, barely any of the team can argue if they are dropped for the next match.”