England captain Harry Kane was “proud” of Harry Maguire for playing through injury towards the end of Monday’s draw with Germany despite it being a nightmare match for the defender.
Centre-back Maguire has become a much-maligned figure at Manchester United, with his performances routinely called into question over the past 12 months or so.
That ultimately led to him being dropped by new manager Erik ten Hag in August after United lost their first two games of the new Premier League season – he has not started since in the top flight and the Red Devils have won four matches on the bounce.
England manager Gareth Southgate backed Maguire at the start of this international window, suggesting he would stake his reputation on the defender’s selection before starting him in both Nations League games despite previous vows to pick players on form.
Serie A-winning Milan defender Fikayo Tomori was left out of the squad entirely on Monday while Maguire went on to endure a nightmare, with his individual errors contributing to England finding themselves 2-0 down.
England remarkably fought back to go 3-2 up with three goals in 12 minutes before Kai Havertz’s second rescued a point for Germany, and while the focus was already on Maguire – who was later spotted limping through the mixed zone – Kane praised his character.
“Any individual mistake, you’re going to be gutted. But we are a team, we will get behind each other,” Kane said.
“They [Maguire and goalkeeper Nick Pope] will learn from [their errors] and they’ll move on. They have been great for us every time they put the shirt on.
“H [Maguire] had a pretty decent injury there at the end, where he played another five, 10 minutes, on almost one leg.
“Great character from him [to keep playing], I’m really proud of him for that.”
After the match, Maguire said sorry to supporters on Instagram following his errors.
The first was a poor pass out from the back that was intercepted by Jamal Musiala, whom he then clumsily fouled in the area. Ilkay Gundogan scored the penalty.
For the second goal, Maguire was robbed of possession – again, Musiala was his nemesis here – up the pitch and Germany sprung a rapid counter-attack that was rounded off by a gorgeous Havertz finish.
“Mistakes are part of the game, I apologise,” Maguire wrote.
“Great fightback and spirit to get us back into the game by the lads. Take the positives and look forward to Qatar. The tough times will make us stronger.”