Harry Maguire suggests low confidence from Manchester United form is infecting England performances
It was a sober assessment from Harry Maguire. England were “too sloppy”, they “need to improve”, have to “nullify the mistakes” and must do better in their “game management”.
Defeat to the Czech Republic in Friday’s Euro 2020 qualifer in Prague does not jeopardise England’s qualification for next summer’s tournament – although it may affect their seeding – but it was a reality check. A worrying sign, also, of how far they still have to go.
With 23 caps Maguire is now one of England’s senior players and he did not disagree that, maybe, a lack of confidence is affecting some of the defenders. “We bring our club football into international level,” he said and that applies to him, at the heart of a struggling Manchester United team who are down in 12th place in the Premier League, his central defensive partner on the night, Michael Keane, with Everton dropping into the bottom three and with Danny Rose at Tottenham Hotspur who have their own problems.
Only right-back Kieran Trippier could be said to be in form since his move to Atletico Madrid in the summer but it was not so long ago that he was out of Gareth Southgate’s plans after a disappointing post-World Cup campaign with Tottenham.
Southgate himself said that confidence does appear to be a factor although England have also changed their defensive combinations regularly – partly due to injury – since reaching the semi-finals in Russia last year, where they had been settled.