March 22, 2024

Maguire issues plea to Man Utd target Southgate as England boss stays silent | Football | Sport


The 53-year-old was a surprise appointment as the England manager in 2016, stepping up from the under-21s initially on a temporary basis after Sam Allardyce’s resignation. But eight years on, he remains the head coach and has taken the Three Lions to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup and the final of Euro 2020 in the time since.

England were a penalty shootout away from their first trophy in 55 years under Southgate in the last Euros. He has not managed in the Premier League since 2009 but regardless, is a serious option to replace Ten Hag if he is axed by Ratcliffe and INEOS at the end of the season.

But despite the interest in Southgate from United’s decision-makers, centre-back and ex-captain Maguire is eager for the manager of the national team to remain in his current position. The FA are hopeful of convincing Southgate to stay on for the 2026 World Cup, with his current deal ending later this year.

But the ex-Middlesbrough manager has refused to discuss what is the next step for him. He has vowed his sole focus is the upcoming Euros in Germany and that he will only decide on his future after the tournament.

And asked if England’s squad want Southgate to stay on, Maguire said: “Yeah, definitely, obviously. We want to be successful in the Euros – we are not looking at the World Cup at the moment – but obviously if we are successful at the Euros, which is our main focus, of course, we want to be successful.

“If Gareth’s the man to make us be successful then we want him to stay as long as possible. I’ve had a great relationship with him. I’ve been a big part of the success and the progression that we’ve shown as a country.

“And I’m sure he will say the same thing now, it’s all about winning a trophy. I don’t know what’s going to happen after the Euros, I don’t know if he knows what’s going to happen. But I feel like what he’s done from when he first took over this job to where we are at now, we’ve taken huge strides and he’s a massive part of that.

“If you asked every single player in the squad they’d say the expectation is to win the tournament. I think tournament football is based on big moments and we have the players to produce those big moments.”

Maguire is thankful to Southgate for his faith in him. The Sheffield-born defender has amassed 62 England caps and all of them have come under the incumbent boss. Southgate has only handed more appearances to Harry Kane (72) in the last eight years.

The 31-year-old added: “I think that the faith and the trust that he has shown me throughout my time for England has been brilliant. I think I’ve been in every single squad I’ve been available for, I’ve played every competitive game that I’ve been available for.

“So it gives me great confidence and belief that I can turn things around. It gave me the belief in myself and he has been a hue part of that and I can only thank him for the support.

“Playing for my country means absolutely everything to me. So if I weren’t picked for a squad I’d have been gutted not to turn up and see the lads. I always believed in my ability to perform on a football pitch.

“I went through a difficult year where a lot of scrutiny came my way. I was Manchester United captain and the team didn’t perform well. I always believed in myself. I have great people, family, friends around me, Gareth has shown great faith in me, trusting me throughout the time, and that’s given me the confidence to make sure I’m ready and available to play and perform.

“I have great belief in my ability and what I can bring to a team. Mentally, is a big part of football now. But I do believe I am mentally strong. I have overcome a lot. With experience you learn how to deal with things better.”



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