‘His performance needs to go up if he wants to keep his place’: Ashley Cole warns under-fire Manchester United defender Harry Maguire that Joe Gomez or Conor Coady could steal his England spot if he doesn’t improve
- Harry Maguire has been delivered a stark warning over his England starting spot
- The Manchester United captain returned to the starting line-up against Belgium
- Former international Ashley Cole says Maguire must improve his performances
- Joe Gomez and Conor Coady will be hoping to oust Maguire from the back line
Harry Maguire has been delivered a stark warning over his England starting role by former international Ashley Cole.
The Manchester United captain was restored to the Three Lions’ line-up against Belgium on Sunday, in what proved to be his first international appearance after his arrest in Greece following a heated bar brawl.
But despite being brought back into the squad by Gareth Southgate, Cole insists that Maguire has improve his performances after a poor start to the season to fend off competition ahead of next summer’s European Championships.
Ashley Cole has warned Harry Maguire that he must improve his performances for England
Ex-Three Lions international Cole pointed out competition from Conor Coady and Joe Gomez
Conor Coady was handed his second appearance for England in the friendly win over Wales in midweek and even capped off an impressive showing with a well-taken goal.
And Cole believes that the Wolves defender, and Liverpool regular Joe Gomez, are both mounting serious competition to usurp Maguire.
When questioned over Southgate’s selection headache in defence, he told Sky Sports: ‘It’s a tough one. On performances of late I would say no, but who after him is there? Maybe a (Joe) Gomez, maybe Conor Coady.
Wolves defender Coady had netted on his second international appearance against Wales
‘For now Maguire is a first choice but for sure his Premier League form has not been great. It’s probably helped him coming here in the England setup, a friendly environment, for him to understand his performance needs to go up a level if he wants to keep his place in this squad.’
Maguire’s appearance against Belgium was his first on the international stage in 11 months.
He was frozen out of England’s squad after his arrest on the island of Mykonos, which saw the 27-year-old convicted of bribery, aggravated arrest and resisting arrest.
However, the former Leicester man has since appealed the 21-month suspended sentence and was able to return to action.
Joe Gomez, a regular starter for both club and country, has also been tipped to usurp Maguire
Maguire has endured a difficult start to the season after his arrest and conviction in Greece
Before England’s second clash at Wembley, part of a triple-bill of fixtures, Southgate admitted he was ‘delighted’ that Maguire was available for a recall.
But Cole insists it is crucial that the centre back first rebuilds his confidence after a difficult opening start to the new campaign for both club and country.
‘We’ve got (Tyrone) Mings as well, Coady coming through, but with Harry it’s getting the confidence back,’ he added.
‘We speak about more off the field than on, and it does take a toll. He has to get over that and start performing better, and hopefully when United as a group start improving, his form will start improving.’
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