Jurgen Klinsmann outlined Harry Maguire’s ball progression prowess ahead of Germany’s last 16 clash with England.
On paper, England’s centre-back pairing of John Stones and Tyrone Mings seemed just fine in the Three Lions first two group games, managing to keep the attackers of both Croatia and Scotland quiet.
However, the return of Maguire against Czech Republic really emphasised the lack of ball progression from the back in the opening games, as Gareth Southgate’s men struggled to break Croatian and the Scottish defence.
Against Czech Republic, who yesterday knocked Netherlands out of the Euros, England were much more adventurous, with Maguire providing a new attacking dimension going forward. He was unlucky not to get an assist, after creating a clear-cut goal-scoring chance for Harry Kane in the first-half.
Incidentally Klinsmann, while naming the England players Germany will be scared of on Tuesday, compared the United defender’s penchant of progressing the ball with that of Brazilian legend Lucio.
“You have Harry Maguire, who kind of frightens everybody when this guy rolls through midfield. He reminds me a bit of Lucio, the Brazilian centre-back — he looks like a Mustang running through everybody,” the former Germany manager told The Athletic.
It’s unclear whether Southgate would consider switching to a back-three to match Germany’s 3-4-2-1 formation, but if the manager does, the 28-year-old would likely be given freedom to drive forward frequently and contribute to England’s attack.