By Joe Bernstein For Mail On Sunday
Published: 22:31 BST, 10 October 2020 | Updated: 08:52 BST, 11 October 2020
England manager Gareth Southgate has hailed the return of his ‘pivotal’ centre-half Harry Maguire after a torrid period for the Manchester United captain.
Maguire — a cult hero in England’s run to the World Cup semi-final in 2018 — will be under particular scrutiny against Belgium today in his first international appearance for 11 months.
Since then, the defender has been convicted of aggravated assault during a summer holiday in Mykonos and he was withdrawn from England’s previous squad in August as a result.
Gareth Southgate has hailed the return of the 'pivotal' defender Harry Maguire to England
His legal team have subsequently launched an appeal which will lead to a retrial but Maguire’s problems have continued on the pitch this season and his mistakes were blamed for Manchester United’s humiliating 6-1 defeat by Tottenham at Old Trafford last weekend.
Southgate is sticking by the 27-year-old, however, and insists England’s improved performances over the last three years have been largely down to Maguire.