Wednesday, October 21, 2020
Home Football Southgate open to Maguire return

Southgate open to Maguire return

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Media caption‘My conscience is clear’ – Maguire tells BBC sports editor Dan Roan

England manager Gareth Southgate says he will “absolutely be looking” to recall Harry Maguire in October.

The Manchester United captain, 27, was withdrawn from the squad last month after being given a suspended prison sentence on the Greek island of Syros.

He was found guilty of aggravated assault, resisting arrest and repeated attempts of bribery.

Maguire, who maintains his innocence, has appealed against the decision and told the BBC his “conscience is clear”.

Southgate says he has been in touch with Maguire “right the way through the last two and a half weeks”.

England get their Nations League campaign under way against Iceland and Denmark this month, before resuming their campaign against Belgium in October.

“It’s clearly been a really difficult period for him and I think the last few days have been very important for him to relax, get away from all the attention and get a rest,” Southgate told reporters on Friday.

“He had a short break anyway but the events in Greece had really dominated that.

“He needs that switch off and he will be able to go back to his club, and he will absolutely look to get him involved in October.”

‘That has been complicated’

Despite the “complicated” build-up given the coronavirus health and safety measures, Southgate says it is “great to be back”.

“The preparation and planning for the camp – when we weren’t sure of the injuries in pre-season, how far teams would go in Europe and the virus situation – that’s been complicated, for sure,” he said.

“But since we’ve been in camp and on the training pitch, the players have adjusted and adapted. We’ve got a lot of senior players who are used to training the way we train, playing the way we play.

“They’re a great influence and welcoming to the lesser experienced ones coming in, but also the young ones coming in have no fear.

“They’ve adapted quickly and added to the level of training and competition, so we’ve really enjoyed the week.”

Saturday’s game with Iceland will be England’s first since winning 4-0 in Kosovo last November, but Southgate says his side will not be “starting from scratch.”

He added: “Experience is important. You’ve got to balance leadership and international experience with with youth and energy.

“It’s helpful to have those experienced guys in there when young players are coming in. But of course you’ve got to look at how people are on the training pitch and whether they’re up to speed.”

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