Giorgio Chiellini defends Harry Maguire.
Former Italy captain Giorgio Chiellini has leapt to the defence of Harry Maguire, amid ongoing criticism of the Manchester United defender.
Maguire’s form has been the subject of intense scrutiny over the past year, with his form falling off a cliff for the Red Devils.
The club captain has watched on from the bench during the club’s recent four-game Premier League winning streak, but the England man has now found an ally in one of his nation’s Euro 2020 conquerers.
Giorgio Chiellini: “Harry Maguire is a good player.”
“‘I am sad for Maguire’s situation because he is a good player,” Chiellini told The Times. “They [Man United] require too much of him. Just because they paid £80million for him, he has to be the best in the world every match? It’s not right.
“The value of the market is dependent on many aspects you can’t control. It’s not your fault. Him and [John] Stones are a good duo [for England]. Okay, Maguire maybe is not Rio Ferdinand but he’s good enough.
“With this situation it’s not helping [England] to do the best. If you want to win the World Cup, it’s impossible to do it with some problems in the key players, and for sure Maguire is one of the key players in the team.”
Italy v England.
Chiellini was speaking ahead of the Uefa Nations League meeting between Italy and England on Friday night.
Both he and Maguire played 120 minutes as their two nations played out a memorable European Championship final at Wembley last July.
Maguire was one of only two England players to score their penalties in the decisive shootout that night, as misses from Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka ensured that Chiellini would lift the trophy for Italy as captain.
More recently the two countries played out a scoreless draw in their Nations League group in June, just 10 days after the former Juventus captain played his final game in an Italy shirt.
England are without a win in their four Nations League games and are in danger of relegation to League B for the next edition of the competition.
Gareth Southgate now has a big call on whether to persist with Maguire ahead of the World Cup, or whether to pick an alternative in light of the defender’s flagging form.