England manager Gareth Southgate says he is ready to put his reputation on the line for backing Harry Maguire, but the defender’s place in the squad will become difficult if he continues to miss matches with his club.
Maguire, who helped England reach the European Championship final last year, has not started Manchester United’s last four Premier League games.
United have scored four consecutive victories in the league since the start of Maguire’s last start in the league, a 4-0 defeat against Brentford.
“It’s clearly not an ideal situation (with Maguire),” Southgate told reporters before facing Italy in the Nations League. We’re only a few weeks into pre-season, so physically if the players play the full 90 minutes that’s fine.
“After another seven to eight weeks, that will become more complicated,” he said. But he is an important player for us and it is important to support our best players. Whatever reputation I have, I support it.
England are close to relegation to the second tier after collecting two points from their first four matches, including two shock defeats against Hungary.
England play Italy in Milan later on Friday and then host Germany at Wembley on September 26 as the team continues its preparations for the World Cup in Qatar.