Manchester United captain Harry Maguire has been brutally taunted ahead of England’s 2022 World Cup opening match against Iran at the Khalifa International Stadium. Iran supporters taunted Maguire with a selection of banners ahead of the Group B showdown in Qatar.
The 29-year-old defender has been the subject of massive scrutiny for months over his loss of confidence and subsequent poor form at United. Gareth Southgate’s decision to select him in his team over Fikayo Tomori was unpopular with large sections of the English fans.
However, Southgate have kept faith with Maguire, who enjoyed fantastic tournaments at the 2018 World Cup and Euro 2020. And he has given the United star a start in Monday’s Group B opener against Iran, along with John Stones in central defence. .
Some Iran supporters at the Khalifa International Stadium have made it clear they are not intimidated by Maguire, holding two comical banners. One says, ‘He’s not coming home for Harry Maguire,’ while the other quips, ‘Harry Maguire, your defense is terrifying.’
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Many expected Arsenal’s Ben White or Tottenham Hotspur’s Eric Dier to partner with the Stones before Maguire, and both enjoyed contrasting seasons with the England number 6. He has lost his place as a regular starter at United, with Erik ten Hag naming him in just one Premier League. line-up since the 4-0 loss at Brentford in August.
His current status has been highlighted by Victor Lindelof, surpassing him in the pecking order and starting alongside Lisandro Martínez in the absence of Raphael Varane in recent weeks. But he will have a chance to resurrect his career with another stellar performance on the international stage this winter.
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Explaining his team selection ahead of the clash with Iran, Southgate told BBC Sport: “You always look at the opponent; we think this is a strong team and a solid way to start. We also have great depth going into it.” , which we will need, and we want to be positive and play with our front foot.”
The boss of the Three Lions will be left with a difficult decision if Maguire holds out one match to forget about launching the World Cup campaign. But he hopes he can keep his defensive line of Kieran Trippier, Maguire, Stones and Luke Shaw the same for most of the tournament.
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