Wayne Rooney claims Gareth Southgate has changed his selection rules after Harry Maguire’s England World Cup call-up


    Manchester United v West Ham United - Premier League
    Harry Maguire has made England’s squad for the World Cup, despite his lack of minutes for Manchester United this season (AMA/Getty)

    Wayne Rooney believes Gareth Southgate has changed his own rules by picking Harry Maguire for England’s World Cup campaign in Qatar.

    Maguire has been named in England’s 26-man squad and is expected to start their World Cup opener against Iran on November 21.

    However, the 29-year-old heads into the tournament with a lack of minutes under his belt for Manchester United having started just five of their matches this season.

    Rooney is adamant that Maguire ‘won’t let England down’ but claims Southgate used to have a policy which prevented out-of-form players from making the squad.

    ‘Am I surprised? No. I think Harry’s been great in the last two tournaments,’ Rooney told talkSPORT.

    ‘It’s interesting actually because when I was in the squad when Gareth came in, Gareth reiterated to me that he’s picking players on form, and I weren’t playing so obviously I didn’t get picked.

    England manager Gareth Southgate shakes hands with Harry Maguire. England?s 26-strong World Cup squad will be announced later on Thursday as Gareth Southgate reveals who has made the cut after deliberating over the form and fitness of his key players heading to Qatar. Picture date: Monday September 26, 2022. Issue date: Thursday November 10, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story SOCCER England. Photo credit should read John Walton/PA Wire.
    Gareth Southgate says he is sticking by Harry Maguire for England’s World Cup run (PA)

    ‘But he seems to have gone away from that now and obviously there’s Harry and a couple of players in the squad who haven’t been playing.

    ‘I think Harry’s a very good professional, he’ll start the games, I’ve no doubt Harry will start games, I’m sure he won’t let England down.’

    Rooney also believes AC Milan defender Fikayo Tomori is unlucky to miss out on a place in England’s squad.

    ‘I think when you look at the squad, I think it’s probably as strong as it could be, if I’m being honest,’ Rooney said.

    ‘The only one really is Tomori, from my point of view, I think he’s probably one who was pushing to be in the squad and he’ll be disappointed he’s not, I imagine.

    ‘With everything else, it’s what I expected from him.’

    Empoli FC v AC Milan - Serie A
    Fikayo Tomori missed out on England’s World Cup squad (NurPhoto via Getty)

    When asked if Southgate should continue playing with three central defenders for the tournament, Rooney replied: ‘I think that’s a big question, only Gareth can answer that.

    ‘I think with Harry Maguire not playing as much I think he’ll go for the protection of three centre-backs.

    ‘And that’s why he’s gone for Eric Dier ahead of Tomori because Eric fits in a back three.

    ‘I hope he goes with a four and gets an attacker on the pitch, but I think he’ll go for a back three.’

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