Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand thinks Harry Maguire shone for England when things got “a little sticky” in their 6-2 win over Iran.
A Bukayo Saka brace and further goals from Jude Bellingham, Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish secured a comfortable victory for the Three Lions in their opening World Cup match.
England sit top of Group B after one match with Wales coming from a goal down to draw 1-1 against the USA on Monday evening.
There were questions over whether Man Utd defender Maguire would start for England at the tournament after his poor form over the past season or two.
The former Sheffield United and Leicester City defender has been out of favour for his club with Erik ten Hag only starting him three times in the Premier League this campaign.
But Maguire put in a confident performance against Iran apart from allowing Mehdi Taremi to run past him to score Iran’s first goal.
However, Maguire was forced off soon after with what appeared to be concussion after being treated for several minutes on the pitch and Ferdinand is prepared to forgive the Man Utd defender for the goal as he had “double vision”.
Speaking on his Vibe with Five YouTube channel, Ferdinand said: “Well I said before the game that this was the most pivotal game probably in his career. If it didn’t go well for him today, how does he recover? It’s a big, big, big, big hill to climb up.”
When asked if he thought it went well for Maguire, Ferdinand replied: “I think it went well up until the goal. He did everything you could’ve asked from him. He justified why the manager put him in with his performance.
“He was an absolute threat in the opponent’s box, hits the cross bar from one of the corners and sets up a goal.”
When put to him if he was selecting defenders on how much of a threat they are in the opposition box, Ferdinand added: “No, no, no, let me finish my point…and controls the game from the back with John Stones in the first half, especially when it was a little sticky.
“So I don’t think he could do any more up until the goal. Now the goal, you guys wouldn’t have seen it, but the goal or the phase before the goal, he’s hunched on his knees and we hear he has double vision. He may have had it at that point, so I’m giving him a bye.”
Asked when he took the knock, Ferdinand replied: “I don’t know. What we are hearing out of the changing room at the stadium is that he had double vision. So I’ll give him a bye on that and that’s why the runner Taremi run off him for the goal, maybe.”
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