Harry Maguire has vowed to fight his way back into Erik ten Hag’s starting XI at Manchester United as the defender gears up to earn his 50th cap for England.
Despite losing Mehdi Taremi for Iran’s first goal amid his knock to the head, the centre-half had an impressive outing in Monday’s 6-2 World Cup opening win.
After recovering from his clash, he will start against the USA on Friday as the Three Lions look to win successive games for the first time since March.
Club captain Maguire is out of favour at United, losing his spot to summer signing Lisandro Martinez. And upon Raphael Varane’s knee injury ahead of Qatar, Ten Hag often preferred Victor Lindelof ahead of Maguire.
The 29-year-old had suffered a knee injury in England’s 3-3 Nations League draw with Germany in September that ruled him out of nearly the entirety of October. It meant he made just three United starts in the two months prior to the beginning of the World Cup.
However, Gareth Southgate has repeatedly shown his trust in Maguire and gave him the nod for Iran. Speaking in a press conference ahead of the showdown with the United States – who drew 1-1 with Wales in their opener – he pledged to wrestle back his place at Old Trafford.
“I have great belief in myself. When I go on the training pitch I work as hard as possible and that gives you good preparation to perform to the best level,” he said.
“I want to be playing every week for my club, so I’m going to fight to get back into the team, but I feel fresh and I knew the World Cup was coming up so I put in the extra shifts.”
Outlining what Maguire brings to the England team, Southgate said: “We wanted to build our team on the capability of playing out from the back, Harry and John Stones have provided that incredible platform to build on.
“That is the start point. They defend well, we have a good spirit among the defenders, they fight for each other and have determination.
“They take pride in keeping clean sheets – although they need to liven up on that at the moment. It is great for Harry to get his 50th cap and it is well deserved.”