Stuart Pearce has defended Harry Maguire after his poor performance in Monday night’s 3-3 draw between England and Germany.
The Manchester United captain retained his place in Gareth Southgate’s starting XI for Germany’s visit to Wembley after last Friday’s 1-0 defeat by Italy.
But Maguire had a night to forget as he gave away the penalty which allowed Germany to take the lead while losing the ball in build up to Kai Havertz’s goal which doubled Germany’s lead.
However, Pearce, who has been crowned 78 times by England, is impressed by Maguire’s mentality and believes the 29-year-old is someone “you want to go into battle with”.
“I think the kid has character,” Pearce told talkSPORT.
“He’s been under quite some scrutiny for the last calendar year, possibly, I don’t know how long, I’m not a social media fanatic.
“Nevertheless, he puts himself out there, and he keeps going, and he doesn’t go under.
“He got injured late in the game and is going against a German player on the halfway line. Don’t let your teammates down.
“Sometimes they’re the individuals you want to go into battle with.”
Meanwhile, Southgate insists Maguire still has a good chance of retaining his place for England’s World Cup campaign, even as he struggles to secure more playing time at Manchester United ahead of the tournament in Qatar.
“That’s always going to be a challenge, especially considering how much football they’ve had,” Southgate said.
“I know everyone will be focused on Harry, but there were some very important moments that Harry delivered over the two games.
“Luke was another example of someone who is an outstanding footballer, so what do we do? Don’t you pick Luke Shaw because he doesn’t play football enough or do we pick a player who can do what you saw tonight?
“That’s always going to spark discussion, but I think in those moments we have to support our best and most experienced players, unless we’re in a situation where it’s almost untenable and impossible to pick them.”
For more stories like this, visit our sports page.
Follow Metro Sport for the latest news
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.