Harry Maguire Gareth Southgate Sport England Manchester Usa Iran soccer Harry Maguire Gareth Southgate Sport England Manchester Usa Iran

Maguire: Confidence in my ability never disappeared

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Harry Maguire says his self-belief never wavered amid poor performances and widespread criticism, although the England defender admits his lack of game time had him a little concerned over his World Cup place.Last year the 29-year-old bounced back from an ankle injury to star during the run to the Euro 2020 final, earning himself a place in the team of the tournament.But things have gone awry since then, with a wretched season for all involved with Manchester United followed by the captain enduring a challenging start to the current campaign.Dropped after Erik ten Hag lost his first two matches in charge, the centre-back has only made seven more club appearances - a period that also saw him laid low by injury.Those struggles led to questions over Maguire's place in the World Cup squad and the defender admits there was a part of him, however small, that was concerned he would not make Gareth Southgate's selection."Obviously being picked for your country is a huge privilege," he said ahead of winning his 50th cap in Friday's World Cup group game against the United States."It's the pinnacle of anybody's footballing career to play at major tournaments for your country, World Cups especially.

It's the biggest tournament in the world."Obviously you have fear of (not) being in a squad, but I had great belief over what I have done over the 49 caps I've played for England that I've earned the trust to be in the squad and be available for the team and the selection."Maguire was thrust straight into the starting line-up for Monday's World Cup opener against Iran, whose fans had brought a few signs goading the oft-abused defender.There can be few players that receive more relentless criticism than the world's most expensive

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