Harry Maguire’s England Call-Up: ‘Nothing but the Huth’

Leicester City

Harry Maguire’s sensational rise

In this article, you’ll see that there’s no ‘Leicester City Preview’, due to the international break.  Having to watch England isn’t what I’d call fun to be quite honest…

However, in keeping the theme of my articles for the website, I’ll be focusing on Harry Maguire’s first senior call up; looking at his stats from the past few years that’s seen his rise from Sheffield United youth prospect to Leicester City first team regular. I’ll also be touching briefly on the squad as a whole, writing down a few thoughts and feeling with regards to the selections made.

First of all, here’s the 28-man England squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifying matches against Malta and Slovakia:

GK:
Hart, Butland, Pickford, Heaton
Def:
Bertrand, Cresswell, Cahill, Jones, Maguire, Stones, Keane, Smalling, Walker, Trippier
Mid:
Dier, Chalobah, Livermore, Henderson, Sterling, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lingard, Alli
Att:
Rashford, Welbeck, Kane, Vardy, Defoe, Sturridge

The shock for most people before the squad was released was Wayne Rooney and his retirement from international football. For England fans, this was tough to take with him being the all-time record goalscorer at this level. He was capped 119 times for his country, firing 53 goals in the process.

A few more interesting stats for any Rooney fans out there are as follows:

– 176 minutes: how long he took to score each of his international goals on average – competitive and non-competitive (156 minutes for competitive games).
– 6.4%: Rooney’s conversion rate at international tournaments since the start of World Cup 2006.
– 380 shots: total number of shots taken for England since 2003, scoring 53 goals in his 14 year/119 cap international career.

Anyway, I digress…

The England squad does have real potential this time. I know that gets passed around when these are announced.
“This squad looks good!” or “I’m happy he’s in there, about time!”. But in all honesty, personally, I’m a massive fan of the team this year.

It’s great to see Jack Butland back in the frame after his horrible injury,  fighting Joe Hart for the number one spot (I think he should be, but that’s another story).

The inclusion of Defoe gives you that International experience, without Wayne Rooney. Nathaniel Chalobah of Watford gives you power and pace in midfield, and I’m really excited about the defenders that Gareth Southgate has chosen.

Aaron Cresswell is an interesting addition, being one of the only bright lights coming out of West Ham in recent times, as well as Everton centre-back Michael Keane, who had been impressive for some time at Burnley, and is now continuing that form at the Merseyside club.

Most exciting of all is the inclusion of Leicester City centre-back Harry Maguire. He’s deserved this chance, and I really hope he gets enough game time to show what he can do.

Maguire is a real talent, and from what I’ve seen of him so far this season, he might as well take Wilfred Ndidi’s place in central midfield.

He looks calm, composed on the ball and assured under pressure, and it’s that calmness on the pitch that will spread throughout the team, and allow his side to play better football and not feel pressurised by the opposition.

He has a leader’s head on his young shoulders; future England captain?

Looking at his rise to the top, Harry Maguire started really hitting the mark at Hull City, where especially last season, he was the rock in a fragile Hull City side which struggled to meet the demands of the Premier League, conceding 80 goals at a rate of 2.11 per game.

He was the hub of the team, and for a centre-back, that means not only was he a fundamental part of the starting XI, but it shows how highly thought of he was up in Humberside, at the young age of 24. It’s scary to think he’s not even in his prime yet.

Maguire started to stand out like a sore thumb in a positive way. He was becoming a threat from set-pieces, scoring three goals from them, two of which being headers- his most recent headed goal coming against Brighton only two weeks ago.

He has an all-time tackle success rate of 73% in the Premier League, equating to three-quarters of his 62 tackles; Hull and Leicester combined. He’s won 223 duels in his Premier League career out of 334, with Maguire also loving an aerial battle, winning 87 out of 128.

His reputation on the field as a no-nonsense defender, which is rare nowadays due to the rise of ‘playing out from the back’, has, without doubt, aided his chances of an England call up. However, his off the field presence would have been looked at too. He seems to work hard in training, get his head down, trying to improve his game at every opportunity and be the best in his position.

Former teammate at Hull City Alex Bruce, son of Aston Villa boss Steve, said Maguire could be ‘the best signing of the summer’, and I’m inclined to agree.

Maguire still has a lot to learn, but under the likes of Robert Huth, Wes Morgan and now the likes of Gary Cahill, Michael Keane and Chris Smalling at England senior level, the only way is up and the future of English football is arguably at its brightest now more than ever before.