Pulse.com.gh logo
Go


Football Harry Maguire: the remarkable rise of England's unlikely new hero

Harry Maguire travelled to watch England as a fan at Euro 2016, but two years later he is a pillar of the defence as the country prepares for its first World Cup semi-final in 28 years.

  • Published:
England's Harry Maguire is making a name for himself at the World Cup in Russia play

England's Harry Maguire is making a name for himself at the World Cup in Russia

(AFP)

Harry Maguire travelled to watch England as a fan at Euro 2016, but two years later he is a pillar of the defence as the country prepares for its first World Cup semi-final in 28 years.

After celebrating Hull's 2015-16 promotion to the Premier League, Maguire and a group of friends made the trip to France to see England's 0-0 group-stage draw with Slovakia.

Those same friends are now out in Russia, but this time the 25-year-old Maguire is playing a crucial role in England's improbable World Cup quest.

It has been an amazing ascent for the Sheffield-born defender, who only made his England debut in a 1-0 qualifying victory over Lithuania in October.

The 2016-17 campaign was Maguire's first season as an established player at the top level, and although Hull were condemned to relegation from the Premier League, his performances persuaded Leicester to sign him on a five-year deal.

It proved a shrewd move as the powerfully built Maguire, who stands 1.94 metres (six feet four inches) tall, played every single minute of the Premier League during his debut season with the Foxes.

He was rewarded with two Leicester player of the year awards -- from the players and the fans -- but his rise to unlikely World Cup hero would not have been possible without Gareth Southgate.

Harry Maguire made his England debut in a 1-0 win in Lithuania last October play

Harry Maguire made his England debut in a 1-0 win in Lithuania last October

(AFP)

The England manager showed a great deal of faith in Maguire as he set about forging a new team identity after taking over from Sam Allardyce in 2016.

"When I was watching him during the season I was so keen that he stayed fit because I thought this was a stage I was certain he could show he could play at," Southgate said after Maguire scored his first international goal in the 2-0 quarter-final win over Sweden.

"I'm not sure he's always believed that. His first game in (Lithuania) he talked about just being desperate not to make a mistake."

'Chilled out'

Southgate's decision to use a back three, as they did in reaching the semi-finals at Euro 96 and the 1990 World Cup, has played into Maguire's favour.

As a youngster he spent much of his time patrolling midfield before transitioning to centre-back in his mid-teens, and those past experiences are serving Maguire well.

"I think he's a super-talented player," said Southgate.

"His use of the ball is as good as any centre-back in the tournament, so hopefully he's gaining belief from the performances at this level."

Maguire has started four of England's five matches -- coming on as a half-time substitute in the loss to Belgium -- projecting an air of confidence as the stakes increase.

"I'm quite laid back, quite chilled out so I've come across like that and I try to take it onto the pitch as well," Maguire told the England FA's YouTube channel.

"It's great to have a manager who's shown great faith in me so that gives me confidence as well."

Former England defender Rio Ferdinand, a member of three World Cup squads, called Maguire "indispensable" going into the last-four clash with Croatia.

"He's a man-mountain, but with the ball at his feet he's graceful as well," Ferdinand told the BBC.

"Against Sweden he became someone who is an integral member of this team, someone who is indispensable at the moment."

Two years after a humiliating last-16 exit to Iceland, England's new band of brothers are just two wins away from achieving football immortality.

It's a prospect that has not really sunk in yet.

"It's been a remarkable two years -- the rise I've had in those two years is quite crazy," Maguire admitted.

Do you ever witness news or have a story that should be featured on Pulse Ghana?
Submit your stories, pictures and videos to us now via WhatsApp: +233507713497, Social Media @pulseghana: #PulseEyewitness & DM or Email: eyewitness@pulse.com.gh.

Recommended Articles

Recommended Videos




Top Articles

1 World Cup 2018 All the award winners of the 2018 FIFA World Cupbullet
2 Serie A Here's how much Ronaldo will earn every minute at Juventusbullet
3 Today In History Tony Baffoe makes history at the FIFA World Cup finalbullet
4 World Cup 2018 Man loses GHc10K bet after Croatia’s loss to Francebullet
5 Football Ronaldo sparks Champions League dreams ahead of...bullet
6 World Cup 2018 France accused of using Africans to reach World...bullet
7 FIFA World Cup FIFA invites President Akufo-Addo to watch...bullet
8 2019 Championship CAF strip Ghana of hosting Africa U-17...bullet
9 Revealed President Akufo-Addo establishes football...bullet
10 Football Ronaldo mania awaits superstar forward after...bullet

Top Videos

1 Anas Aremeyaw Anas finally takes off beads on TVbullet
2 Video Shatta Wale displays great football skills that would delight youbullet
3 Video Sulley Muntari cooks for wife Menayebullet
4 Video Gyan rubbishes assertion that Ghana would have won Russia 2018bullet
5 Video Watch the highlights of new Black Stars wonder kidbullet
6 Ghost Goal Italian referee shows remorse for disallowing...bullet
7 Back to the Roots Memphis Depay dancing ‘adobe’ in Cape Coastbullet
8 Video Sannie Daara received GHC 4,000 bribe in Anas exposébullet
9 Video Watch how Essien and his Chelsea legends suffered...bullet
10 Video Watch Frank Acheampong 5th goal of the season...bullet

Football