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Harry Maguire will return to England squad, says Gareth Southgate

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Last Updated: 04/09/20 2:17pm









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Gareth Southgate plans to bring Harry Maguire back into the England set-up next month having withdrawn the defender from this squad following his Greek court case

Gareth Southgate plans to bring Harry Maguire back into the England set-up next month having withdrawn the defender from this squad following his Greek court case

Gareth Southgate plans to bring Harry Maguire back into the England set-up next month, having withdrawn the defender from this squad following his Greek court case.

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Four days after his arrest in the early hours of August 21 following an alleged incident on the island of Mykonos, the 27-year-old defender was found guilty of assaulting a police officer, swearing, resisting arrest and bribery.

Maguire maintains his innocence and has lodged an appeal with the Greek court system, with the Manchester United captain saying he feared for his life during his arrest.

United have said the appeal nullifies the ruling in a Greek court and means the defender has no criminal record ahead of a full retrial after he was handed a 21-month suspended prison sentence.

Gareth Southgate says he has been in regular contact with Maguire

Gareth Southgate says he has been in regular contact with Maguire

Maguire will not be involved in England’s upcoming Nations League double-header against Iceland and Denmark, with Southgate withdrawing him from the squad after the initial verdict was made.

Asked if he has been in contact with Maguire and whether he would come back into the thinking for October fixtures against Wales, Belgium and Denmark, Southgate said: “Yes and yes.

“We’ve been in touch right the way through the last two-and-a-half weeks.

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“It’s been clearly a really difficult period for him and I think the last few days have been very important for him to be able to relax and get away from all the attention – mentally get a rest, because of course he had a short break anyway but then the events that happened in Greece really dominated that.

“I think he needed that switch off and he’ll be able to go back to his club, and absolutely we would be looking to involve him in October.”

‘No hesitation’ to start Foden or Greenwood

There are several new faces in Southgate’s squad to face Iceland and Denmark, with Manchester-based duo Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood attracting much of the attention after starring for their clubs in the latter stages of last season.

Foden, 20, featured regularly in Pep Guardiola’s midfield at Manchester City after lockdown, while 18-year-old forward Greenwood was prolific as Manchester United surged to a third-place finish.

Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood have previously played together for England's U21s

Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood have previously played together for England’s U21s

Southgate refused to confirm whether either of the young stars would be involved against Iceland, but gave a positive review of their performances in training.

“Everything we’ve seen on the training pitch – we’d have no hesitation in starting any of the players that are with us,” Southgate said.

“That’s why they are picked in the first place, but also then you’re never quite certain how they’ll adapt and how they’ll fit in with the group.

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Southgate says he would have no hesitation in giving senior debuts to Foden and Greenwood against Iceland or Denmark

Southgate says he would have no hesitation in giving senior debuts to Foden and Greenwood against Iceland or Denmark

“But they’re two of another group of very exciting young players that are coming through the English system.”

While the youthful nature of the squad with which Southgate has achieved significant success in recent years has earned him much credit, the England manager insisted it is the senior players who must continue to drive the team forward.

Manchester City duo Raheem Sterling and Kyle Walker have won multiple trophies at club level, while Jordan Henderson has captained Liverpool to Champions League and Premier League titles over the past two seasons – with all three having been starters as England reached the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup and last year’s inaugural Nations League competition.

“It’s lovely to talk about the young players because they’re so exciting, but we’ve got players that now winning is what it’s about with them with England,” Southgate said.

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“They’ve knocked on the door a couple of times. They’re at a stage of their career where just to be here, just to be getting caps isn’t enough. They want to add to the medals, they want to add to the successes and victories.

“You need a core of the team that are at that point in their career where that’s the focus, and collectively they drive the team and they drive the habits and behaviours every day.

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