Patrick Vieira defends Manchester United star Harry Maguire following England World Cup call-up

    Manchester United v Aston Villa - Carabao Cup Third Round
    Harry Maguire has struggled for game time at Man Utd this season (Photo: Getty)

    Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira says that Manchester United captain Harry Maguire deserves a place in England’s World Cup squad.

    This is despite Maguire occupying a place in the 26-man team that could have, and perhaps should have, gone to Palace star Marc Guehi.

    Guehi has been outstanding since leaving Chelsea for Selhurst Park last season and his performances at club-level earned him a first call-up by Gareth Southgate in March of this year.

    The 22-year-old has since been capped three times and was included in the last three England squads, but was left out of the Three Lions’ team for Qatar 2022.

    The centre-backs selected instead were Maguire, John Stones, Eric Dier, Conor Coady and Ben White.

    ‘Regarding Marc, what he has to do is to keep being consistent with his performances,’ Vieira said in his pre-match press conference ahead of Palace’s clash at Nottingham Forest on Saturday.

    ‘Marc, if you compare him to Maguire, the difference is that Maguire knows [things] that international level which Marc doesn’t know yet.

    Newcastle United v Crystal Palace - Premier League
    Palace’s Marc Guehi has three England caps (Photo: Getty)

    ‘The manager [Southgate] has to make a decision about what he wants for that tournament. Again, Marc, or anybody else, should respect that decision and make a judgement at the end of the tournament.

    ‘The manager knows the player better than we do. The manager knows what he wants from players and how he wants to play the game.

    ‘The nation has to trust, believe, and be behind the manager. Then, when the tournament is finished, everybody can express their opinion.

    Newcastle United v Crystal Palace - Carabao Cup Third Round
    Patrick Vieria’s Palace are 10th in the table (Photo: Getty)

    ‘I believe that what England needs is for the opinion of the nation to be behind and to support the decision of the manager – then, see how it goes.’

    Fellow Palace stars Tyrick Mitchell and Eberechi Eze also missed out on a place but both were admittedly outside bets.

    As for Maguire, the 29-year-old has struggled with his form for United since last year’s Euros and has rarely featured so far this season, but his inclusion was not a surprise given Southgate’s well-known trust in him.

    Nevertheless, the defender has come under intense scrutiny from the media, pundits and fans, something Vieira believes is unjust.

    ‘Sometimes you guys [the media] show a lack of respect to Maguire and to some of the players who have been selected in the national team,’ the former France midfielder who won the 1998 World Cup added.

    ‘Maguire is a top player who has a really strong character. Sometimes you can play well, and sometimes you can play badly, but that doesn’t take away the quality that he has and the personality that he has.

    ‘The England national team will benefit from that.’

    MORE : Erik ten Hag eager to offload Harry Maguire and Fred next summer as part of Manchester United rebuild

    MORE : Aleksandar Mitrovic set to miss Fulham vs Manchester United and is a doubt for Serbia’s World Cup opener vs Brazil

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