Harry Maguire featured in his first Euro 2020 game as England beat Czech Republic 1-0 to finish in first place in Group D.
Jack Grealish, who also started his first game of the tournament, put in a great cross for Raheem Sterling to head home. Further, a cleansheet at Wembley meant Sterling’s goal was enough for the Three Lions to win their final group game of the tournament.
Maguire was an assured presence on his return from a six-week injury lay-off. However, John Stones and Tyrone Mings have also been defensively solid for Gareth Southgate as the centre-back duo managed cleansheets against both Croatia and Scotland.
England rather missed Maguire’s ball-playing ability in their first two games, struggling to consistently progress the ball through the lines. Their lack of creativity against Scotland also led to Declan Rice becoming the subject of much criticism.
Nevertheless, against Czech Republic they were more threatening, with the 28-year-old leading any other Englishman on the pitch in playing passes into the final third.
Maguire has been unreal in every sense a centre back can be. His ability on the ball doesn’t get spoken about nearly as much as it should be.
— TC (@totalcristiano) June 22, 2021
Maguire is creating big chances from CB they said Mings should start 😂
— 🍵 (@isoquince) June 22, 2021
Maguire getting love from everyone on the timeline pic.twitter.com/kwtUuKZqO1
— Ché (@che___xo) June 22, 2021
And there is the value of Maguire. There have been none of those forward passes from England defenders in the opening two games. Brilliant ball and work by Kane.
— James Robson (@jamesrobsonES) June 22, 2021
Harry Maguire has been doing this all season long, and some. – Funny how the perception changes after watching him play and making a judgment for yourself rather than following agendas and what’s popular at the time. The truth is, he’s unbelievable and has been for some time.
— ManUnitedMedia (@ManUnitedMedia) June 22, 2021
Heading into the knockout stages, Southgate’s men will come up against much better defences than their Group D opponents.
Considering the conservative midfield combination of Kalvin Phillips and Declan Rice, Maguire’s talent will be crucial to England’s faith in the European Championships.