England boss Gareth Southgate has revealed that Harry Maguire was taken off against Iran because he felt ill.
The Manchester United centre-back started in the Three Lions’ World Cup opener, but was substituted off for Eric Dier midway through the second half.
England got their World Cup campaign off to the perfect start in Qatar as they beat Iran 6-2.
Maguire thought he should have won a penalty for his side in the opening stages as he was pulled down inside the area, but a spot-kick was not awarded.
He also hit the crossbar with a header, but England soon found their rhythm and went into half-time three goals up thanks to Jude Bellingham, Bukayo Saka and Raheem Sterling goals.
Second half efforts from Saka, Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish saw them hit their opponents for six, with Iran’s Mehdi Taremi scoring a consolation brace.
Despite such an impressive performance, Maguire had to be taken off for the remaining 20 minutes of the match, with Southgate revealing to talkSPORT: “He felt ill.
“At the stage of the game we were at, we thought there is no point taking any chances.”
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The England boss went on to praise his defender, who has had a tough time of late at United having made just five starts all season.
He added: “I thought his performance was excellent, really very good.
“I think him and John [Stones] control the ball so well, control the buildup of the game, they gave us a real calmness in that buildup, and their experience and quality is such an important part of how we play.”
There were many reasons for England fans to celebrate apart from the scoreline as Bellingham, Saka and Rashford all netted their first ever goals in the World Cup.
Southgate’s side will be full of confidence heading into their next match in Group B as they face the USA on Friday night, with Maguire hoping he will be fit enough to play in the clash.