Harry Maguire apologises for England ‘mistakes’ but Gareth Southgate vows to play him until it’s ‘untenable’
HARRY MAGUIRE has apologised for England “mistakes” after his latest gaffes last night.
But Gareth Southgate has vowed to stick with the error-prone defender until his position in the team becomes “untenable”.
After the chaotic 3-3 draw, in which Maguire was at fault for Germany’s first two goals, the Manchester United ace took to Instagram to own up to his mistakes.
He wrote: “Mistakes are part of the game, I apologise.
“Great fight back 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.”
Southgate, 52, revealed players had clear-the-air talks behind closed doors before their rousing Nations League comeback against Germany at Wembley.
Three goals in 12 minutes from Luke Shaw, Mason Mount and Harry Kane put the Three Lions 3-2 up, before a late howler by Nick Pope cost them victory.
Defender Maguire made mistakes for the visitors’ first two strikes, including bringing down Jamal Musiala for a penalty after the break.
England now head to the winter World Cup in Qatar on a competitive six-game winless run — the worst in their history.
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Southgate said: “I know everybody will focus on Harry Maguire. That is always going to raise debate.
“In these moments, we have to back our best and most experienced players unless we are in a situation where it is almost untenable and impossible to pick them.
“I have to accept there will be huge amounts of noise around individual selections but if I am going to be wishy-washy and change my mind, then it is pointless of me doing it.”
Defender Reece James backed Maguire and Pope. He said: “When you are playing and make a mistake you are experienced enough to know you made a mistake, so you don’t need to be told.
“Harry has not been playing too much this season. He has been finding his rhythm, we know the quality he has.
This is just a bump in the road and going into the World Cup when we arrive we will be ready to play
“It is a little slip-up and I am sure they will bounce back and be stronger.
“This is just a bump in the road and going into the World Cup when we arrive we will be ready to play.”
Goals from Ilkay Gundogan from the spot and Kai Havertz’s curler put Germany ahead before Shaw — England’s first in open play for 521 minutes — and sub Mount replied.
Kane converted from the spot in the 83rd minute thanks to a VAR check after Nico Schlotterbeck’s foul on Jude Bellingham.
Skipper Kane is now two goals off Wayne Rooney’s England goalscoring record of 53.
The striker, who admitted the errors cost the Three Lions dear, said: “The fight and mentality in the team was shown out there.
“The boys have been under pressure. We all have with the recent results and we all came out here today with a point to prove. This will put us in a positive mindset.”
Kane was part of the senior group who approached Southgate to organise a heart-to-heart talk with the players after losing to Italy 1-0 in Milan on Friday.
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Southgate explained: “Some of the more senior players have been outstanding.
“They asked for a meeting on their own to talk things through. For me that was such a positive sign. The best football teams have a real core of players that drive things.
“To have the right sort of messages filtering through to the group to keep people on track is crucial. We need to stay calm.
“We have been through times like this before but they are all learning together. The message is we must stick to what we do.
“You will have pressure in a World Cup. It may be in a group game or in a quarter-final. It is better we feel it and learn how to feel about it.
“We have to improve but we weren’t going to rip things up overnight. We believe in what we are doing, whether people agree or not. The players took that on board.
“You can talk about spirit when things are going well but the true test is through adversity.”
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