The Englishman plays an instrumental role for both club and country.
Harry Maguire has been a key part of England’s march into the final of the UEFA Euro 2020. The Three Lions beat Denmark 2-1 in the semis to advance to the final, where they will meet Italy. Gareth Southgate’s men have been solid defensively throughout the tournament and conceded their first goal in six games when Mikkel Damsgaard converted from a free-kick.
However, England clawed their way into the match and won the tie, courtesy of an own goal by Simon Kjaer and Harry Kane. Despite not being on the scoresheet, one of the best performers on the night for England was Harry Maguire. The centre-back has been in exceptional form at the Euros, receiving collective praise from the fans and neutrals.
Going by his form, Maguire has become an indispensable part for both club and country. Despite his performances at the highest level, Maguire is yet not counted as one of the best defenders of this generation – a tag solely reserved for the likes of Raphael Varane, Virgil Van Dijk and Ruben Dias.
Khel Now takes a look at five reasons that suggests why Harry Maguire is one of the most underrated defenders in the world at the moment.
5. A threat in the box
Standing at almost 6’4″, Harry Maguire is often the tallest figure in the team. Furthermore, he has a physical presence, which he uses to good effect in both defensive and attacking situations. Maguire loves to get on the end of corners and free-kicks, trying to find the back of the net. In most situations, he gets to the ball, jumping above the opposition players.
Mason Mount kept finding Maguire with his free-kicks into the box against Denmark. The centre-back almost found the back of the net but Kasper Schmeichel’s fingertips denied him. He scored one of the four goals against Ukraine in the quarterfinals and has three goals in 34 appearances for England.
4. Winner of duels
Harry Maguire is one of the best performers when it comes to winning aerial and ground duels. This is an aspect that is bread and butter for a good defender. Maguire excels at winning headers due to his judgement and physical presence.
The 28-year-old won nine out of 12 aerial duels and four out of six ground duels against Denmark. He has won 85% of the aerial duels in Euro 2020 alone. This is keeping in mind that he gets at the end of most corners and free-kicks in the attacking third.
3. Defensively solid
England became stronger defensively as soon as Maguire made his first appearance at the Euros. Even though Tyrone Mings did a good job covering in his absence, England looks much more secure with Maguire at the back.
Maguire had five interceptions against Denmark, the most of any player on the pitch. He also had five clearances which was the most by any English player. Clearly, Maguire is the best performing defender in the English squad which justifies his stature.
2. Brilliant at progressing the ball
It is no surprise that Maguire is comfortable on the ball. He shows incredible composure while dribbling in advanced positions. The centre-back has completed 100% of his dribbles at the Euros and is one of the most comfortable players on the ball to get it in forward areas.
Be it playing for Manchester United or England, Maguire is seen combining well with Luke Shaw on the left, finding him with penetrating balls in the left-flank. Maguire also has a passing accuracy of 89% at the Euros in the opposition half too.
1. Possesses elite conditioning
Harry Maguire may be the most expensive centre-back in the world, but he possesses extreme longevity. He is hardly injured and does not want rest even when matches come thick and fast.
Harry Maguire led the rankings of playing the most amount of time in 2020 after playing 4745 minutes in 53 matches across all competitions for club and country. The Manchester United captain played 4653 minutes in the following campaign (second-most).
Since recovering from injury, Maguire has played the full duration in each of the four games for England at Euro 2020.