Leicester City center-back Harry Maguire was among the supporters two years ago at the European Championship. Now he’s among an English back three that’s storming into a World Cup semifinal. Not bad for a center-back who just over a year ago endured relegation with his former club Hull City.
In two knockout stages, Maguire has played three and half hours of football, won 22 aerial challenges (17 defensively), made nine clearances – six against Sweden – and has an entire country believing “It’s coming home.”
Maguire simply encapsulates the modern center-back, who’s just as dangerous with his passing through the midfield as he is scoring with his meaty forehead from corners. “Slabhead” never fit so perfectly than when his header against Sweden gave England the lead in the quarterfinal.
But his offensive contribution has been more than winning aerial battles during corner kicks. Maguire’s passing at a rate of 83 percent through the two knockout round games. His right-footed connections with fellow left-side players Ashley Young and Dele Alli, and midfield general Jordan Henderson, have continually sparked the Three Lions attack. And in the rare instance, Maguire has shown a willingness to penetrate opposing midfields and distribute the ball further up the pitch.
English writers, fans and tweeters had their concerns with Gareth Southgate selecting the Leicester man as the third defender next to join John Stones and Kyle Walker. Many felt Manchester United’s Phil Jones or Chelsea’s Gary Cahill had proved their ability in the starting XI.
Maguire has stepped up and has been an obvious fit into Southgate’s masterplan with the Three Lions. Maguire’s also added to the consumption of this World Cup with the hilarity below. Enjoy!