UEFA Nations League: Harry Maguire withdrawn from England squad after conviction in Greece for assault

Southgate had included Maguire in his England team after backing the defender's version of events and receiving an apology for being detained after a brawl last week while on vacation on the island of Mykonos.

The Associated Press August 25, 2020 21:41:06 IST
UEFA Nations League: Harry Maguire withdrawn from England squad after conviction in Greece for assault

London: Harry Maguire was withdrawn from the England squad Tuesday by coach Gareth Southgate following his conviction for assault at a trial in Greece, hours after being selected for two upcoming matches against Iceland and Denmark.

Southgate had included the Manchester United captain in his team after backing the defender's version of events and receiving an apology for being detained after a brawl last week while on vacation on the island of Mykonos.

But Southgate made the about-turn after the world's most expensive defender was handed a 21-month suspended sentence. Maguire, who was not present at the trial on the island of Syros, was found guilty of assault, swearing in public, and attempting to bribe a police officer.

“In light of this evening’s developments, I can confirm I have withdrawn Harry Maguire from the England squad for the matches against Iceland and Denmark," Southgate said. “As I said earlier today, I reserved the right to review the situation. Having spoken to Manchester United and the player, I have made this decision in the best interests of all parties and with consideration of the impact on our preparations for next week.”

Southgate has previously shown his willingness to get tough with misbehaving players, dropping Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling after he clashed with Liverpool's Joe Gomez in a training ground dispute.

UEFA Nations League Harry Maguire withdrawn from England squad after conviction in Greece for assault

England player Harry Maguire leaves a court building on the Aegean island of Syros on Saturday. AP Photo

Maguire has made 26 appearances for England, which plays Iceland on 5 September and Denmark three days later in the UEFA Nations League.

Southgate's side has not played this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, which led to the European Championship being postponed until 2021.

Maguire's off-field issues overshadowed first call-ups for talented youngsters Phil Foden, Mason Greenwood and Kalvin Phillips.

Foden, 20, has emerged as a future star in Manchester City's midfield, while the goals of 18-year-old striker Greenwood were key to Manchester United qualifying for next season's Champions League.

"It's a step up for them but they are both more than capable. They have shown playing in big matches for big clubs that they are talented boys," Southgate said.

"They are both hugely exciting players who can be part of England's future. It is up to them to take it forward.

"It is now the right time a year away from the European Championships. Let's see if they can start to break into that team and that squad."

Phillips' mature displays in midfield helped Leeds win promotion from the Championship last season.

"He is a player we have watched a lot in the last 12 months with Leeds. The position he plays is one where we need competition for places. It's an exciting moment for him," Southgate said.

There was also a place in the squad for Southampton striker Danny Ings, who enjoyed a prolific campaign with 25 goals in all competitions and made his only previous England appearance in 2015.

Southgate picked players from Manchester City and Manchester United including Sterling, Marcus Rashford and Kyle Walker, even though their European campaigns only ended this month.

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