Manchester United skipper Harry Maguire has fallen on hard times over the past 12 months and his poor form has led to him losing his place in the first XI.
Eric ten Hag supported the partnership of Lisandro Martinez and Rafael Varane, and Victor Lindelof replaced Varane when he was injured, instead of the 29-year-old player.
And since the central defender does not play as many matches as possible, the England coach urged not to choose Maguire and instead focus on young and promising talents.
Maguire is beaming
However, Gareth Southgate resisted these urges and chose the defender, given his past performances for the Three Lions. And he duly selected him in the starting lineup for the first match of the World Cup against Iran.
Before the start of the match, the United defender was trolled by opposition posters, and this was only the last episode in a difficult period when he was attacked again and again on social networks.
Harry Maguire’s game by numbers vs. Iran:
100% aerial duels won
100% ground duels won
89% pass accuracy
10 long balls completed
1 shot off the woodwork
1/1 dribble completed
1 key pass
Great opening performance. 👏 pic.twitter.com/CaJ5dZmq6h
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) November 21, 2022
Thanks to Maguire for never letting these comments affect him, and he was in a great mood on Monday.
He could have received a penalty in the first exchanges, but the referee stopped the game, despite later footage confirming that a penalty would have been the right decision.
Maguire then hit the crossbar with a powerful header and the Iran goalkeeper was well beaten. His efforts finally paid off when he again won a header from a corner kick, and Bukayo Saka expertly knocked him into the net, becoming the second player of the England national team.
The England defender was great in the air, winning 100% of his aerial duels. And whenever Iran got the ball, he skillfully cleared it, and this was confirmed by his 100% success in the stalls.
United will be hoping for the same
One of the qualities that never failed the former Leicester City player was his ability to pass, and this was again fully manifested, as he made 81 touches and had an 89% pass success rate. Maguire also completed 10 long balls.
The United star had to be replaced in the second half due to concussion, but his performance will undoubtedly please Southgate and Ten Haga, given his recent suffering.
United fans will be hoping that a fully rejuvenated Maguire can return to Old Trafford as United aim for silverware and a top-four finish under Ten Hug this season.