Southgate defends Maguire, again, as England prepare for Ivory Coast test
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Southgate defends Maguire, again, as England prepare for Ivory Coast test

England manager Gareth Southgate has once again defender Harry Maguire as the Three Lions prepare to face Ivory Coast in the final friendly match at Wembley on Tuesday night. 

The Man United captain has come under serious criticism in recent months but has been a mainstay in England's defense with Southgate under little or no pressure to drop him. 

Speaking on Monday, the former England international once again highlighted the importance of the former Leicester man, saying he has been instrumental, particularly in the World Cup qualifiers. 

"It is complicated and everyone has a view on who should play. We need the best players possible. Maguire was very good in the autumn and he helped get us to a World Cup semi-final and a Euro final," he said. 

Adding: "He’s more than capable of playing for us at the highest level. The club are in a difficult moment, there could be any number of reasons for that.

“That doesn’t mean players can be poor for a couple of years and still get in. It also depends on competition in those positions; we’ve obviously left some forward players out [Sancho and Rashford].

England came from a goal down to beat Switzerland 2-1 in their other friendly match last weekend, with Luke Shaw and Harry Kane getting the goals. 

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