England manager Gareth Southgate has launched an impassioned defence of Harry Maguire, insisting that the Three Lions need him in order to win the World Cup.
After a stellar Euro 2020 campaign, Maguire's form nosedived last season with Manchester United. He has since lost his place in the Red Devils' starting lineup to summer signing Lisandro Martinez.
Maguire's performances have largely still been above board with England since, but he was at fault for Germany's opener in their 3-3 draw on Monday and was said to have waited two hours after the match to discuss his place in the team with Southgate.
Speaking post-match, Southgate revealed why he has continued to call upon Maguire despite his alarming drop in form.
"I know everybody says he’s important to me, [but] he’s important to us - it’s us, not me," he said.
"Why do we pick him? Because he’s one of the players who gives us the best chance of winning. So really we should all be wanting a Harry Maguire that’s playing regularly and playing with confidence.
"That applies to quite a few players but he’s the one that everything lands on, which must be a tough space for him really.
"He’s showing tremendous character. I think he has got the character to get over this because he’s a boy that has been from Sheffield United to Hull City. He’s not one where everything has been smooth.
"Sometimes you get lads who, in the early part of their career, haven’t had to handle adversity and when it hits them, it’s harder to cope with. He’s like most of us really, in that he’s had lots of hurdles and that shapes your character."