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Manchester United captain Harry Maguire should definitely be a starter for England at the World Cup, claims Everton winger Andros Townsend. However, Townsend admits Maguire’s lack of regular football is a clear problem.
England boss Gareth Southgate kept faith with Maguire when naming his squad for the Nations League matches against Italy and Germany. That is despite him not starting any of United’s last five Premier League matches.
Red Devils boss Erik ten Hag prefers summer signing Lisandro Martinez at the back alongside Raphael Varane. Maguire remains United’s club captain but is likely to only feature in cup competitions if the first-choice duo remain fit.
Southgate’s selection of Maguire has led to some criticism from pundits. But Townsend says there is no doubting Maguire has enough credit in the bank to still be a starter for the Three Lions.
READ MORE: Arsenal boss Arteta hailed for achieving something Wenger couldn’t He told talkSPORT: “It is a player who I know has played well when he puts on an England shirt. He is someone who has played for England on numerous occasions and that’s not to be underestimated.
“Match sharpness is obviously going to be a problem. With the centre-halves at Man United playing well, it may be difficult for him to get back in.
“But I’m sure Gareth will use these two games to get Harry a couple of games, get his sharpness up, and hopefully he gets back in the United team. They’ve got Europa League, League Cup… worst-case scenario, there are games Maguire can get 90 minutes and make sure he’s sharp for November.
“But whether he’s in the team or not, he is one million per cent a starter for England.” Tottenham star Eric Dier has been called into Southgate’s squad.
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Townsend believes he is a reliable back-up option. He added: “If there was an injury, or maybe John Stones loses form… Dier, the way he’s played under [Antonio] Conte at Spurs, in a back-three, he is definitely knocking on the door to replace one of those three at the back.”
Southgate admitted last week that it is a concern that some of his players are not playing regularly for their clubs. But he hopes that changes before the World Cup begins in November.
Southgate said: “Clearly, we have a number of players including Ben Chilwell, Luke Shaw, Harry Maguire and Kalvin Phillips who are not playing a lot of minutes with their club. It is not ideal, but we feel they have been, and can be, important players for us.
“It is not a perfect situation but there is still a lot of football to be played before Qatar.”
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