The England Men’s National Team announced its 26-man roster for the 2022 FIFA World Cup on Thursday, and some of the inclusions and snubs caused quite a stir among supporters. Manager Gareth Southgate, despite the evidence available for everyone to see, elected to roll with Manchester United outcast Harry Maguire over AC Milan star Fikayo Tomori on defense, much to the dismay of supporters. In response to the criticism faced over his selection of Maguire, Southgate issued a shocking defense of the Englishman, showcasing tremendous faith in one of the least reliable defenders on the planet. (Via Fabrizio Romano).
“We don’t think the young ones [centre-backs] have done quite enough to push the older ones out,” said Southgate.
“Yes, I’m sure Harry Maguire is one of our best centre-backs.”
Maguire’s overall inclusion in the squad isn’t particularly shocking given Southgate’s well-known affection for the Manchester United central defender. But for him to opt against including Tomori, who is enjoying an excellent season in Italy’s top flight for AC Milan, has not proven to be a popular decision among supporters.
Southgate’s comments suggest that Maguire will be a crucial part of the England setup in Qatar, so fans should not be surprised if he’s named in the Starting XI for the group stage matches against the likes of the USA, Iran, and Wales.
Maguire’s blunders on the pitch have led to him falling out of favor at Manchester United, but the same has not yet transpired over at the national team setup. Gareth Southgate continues to express faith in the mistake-prone central defender, opting to bring him along instead of the deserving Tomori.