Martin Keown believes that Manchester United captain Harry Maguire must feature for England at the European Championships if available.
Writing in his Daily Mail column, Keown laid strong praise on United’s skipper, who is in race against time to be fit to face Croatia on Sunday.
Maguire hasn’t featured at all for club or country since suffering ankle ligament damage last month.
He missed the Red Devils remaining five Premier League games and both of England’s pre-Euros friendly fixtures.
Gareth Southgate still added the 28-year-old to his squad, despite continuing concerns about his injury.
There is a strong belief Maguire will be on the bench for the Croatia clash this weekend.
Keown compliments Maguire
Keown, who represented England at three major tournaments, supported Southgate’s decision to include the United defender in his team.
“Maguire is a nailed-on starter if fully fit,” said the Arsenal legend.
“He was another outstanding performer from the 2018 World Cup in Russia. In that tournament he was dominant in both boxes.
“He missed the last five games of the season for Manchester United but he’s so integral to the team that I understand why Southgate is willing to wait for him.
“He’s got a big-game mentality. He’s calm in possession and passes with real purpose.”
Up until his injury, Maguire had enjoyed an excellent individual season with United.
He hardly missed a minute of action and his absence was sorely felt.
Many agree that England’s weakest point is in central defence, especially without the Old Trafford leader in attendance.
Tryon Mings, Conor Coady and newly assigned Ben White have never played on a stage of such magnitude.
For all their attacking talent, an inexperienced back-line could be detrimental to the Three Lions.
Southgate needs to find a partner for John Stones, or revert to a three-back for added protection.
The ideal choice would be to throw Maguire straight back into the mix, but risking further damage is not wise at all.
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