|Gareth Southgate is willing to risk his personal reputation at the altar of his unwavering support for Harry Maguire. (Photo credit: @FA)|
The best of leaders live and die by their decisions; and for England boss Gareth Southgate, his stand on out of favor defender Harry Maguire may be his masterstroke or his ultimate undoing.
Harry Maguire has not started a league game for Manchester United since the 4-0 annihilation in the hands of Brentford in the second league game of the season and in that time, the club has won all league games played including a 3-1 success over league leaders Arsenal.
Maguire was involved in the Europa League loss to Real Sociedad and his part in the game left too much to be desired; however, Southgate has thrown his weight behind the troubled defender but with a caveat that he has to work on his club form.
Maguire was part of the England squad that finished fourth at the 2018 World Cup and helped the 3Lions to a second placed finish at the 2020 Euros; club form plays major part in team selection but Southgate has decided to hand Maguire his wildcard.
"Clearly, it's not an ideal situation [with Maguire.] We're only a few weeks on from preseason so, physically, if they've had a few 90 minutes, that's fine," Southgate told reporters ahead of England's Nations League clash against Italy.
England will play Italy on Friday night with a big risk of a potential relegation from their UEFA Nations League group following two back-to-back shock losses to Hungary. England will under pressure and a figure like Maguire is one to watch.