Harry Maguire fitness concern for England as defender forced off with in World Cup 2022 opener against Iran

Knock: Harry Maguire  (Getty Images)
Knock: Harry Maguire (Getty Images)

England have injury concerns over Harry Maguire after he was forced off during the second half of their World Cup opener against Iran after he complained about feeling ill.

Maguire answered his critics with a solid performance after Gareth Southgate stuck with the Manchester United defender despite him being badly out of form.

But striker Mehdi Taremi got the better of Maguire when he scored a consolation goal for Iran and the England centre-back immediately signalled he needed treatment because he was struggling with blurred vision.

Maguire then appeared to receive a concussion check from England medical staff as he was given treatment on the pitch before he was substituted.

The injury to Maguire means he could be a doubt to face the United States on Friday, when England continue their World Cup campaign with their second match in Group B.

Maguire, who started alongside John Stones in a back four, was replaced by Tottenham defender Eric Dier.

Southgate said: “Maguire felt ill, [he] flagged it just before the [first Iran] goal and given the state of the game, we felt it was no point [in him] carrying on.”

His withdrawl against Iran followed a controversial incident at the start of the match when Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand was allowed to play on despite appearing to be heavily concussed following a sickening clash of heads.

Beiranvand also looked to have his nose badly broken when he collided with his team-mate while punching clear a cross from Harry Kane early in the game.

England vs Iran FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar | Group B Match | 21st November 2022

Jack Grealish celebrates with Marcus Rashford, Phil Foden and Callum Wilson of England (Getty Images)
Jack Grealish celebrates with Marcus Rashford, Phil Foden and Callum Wilson of England (Getty Images)
Mehdi Taremi of IR Iran scores their team’s second goal from the penalty spot (Getty Images)
Mehdi Taremi of IR Iran scores their team’s second goal from the penalty spot (Getty Images)
Jack Grealish of England scores their team’s sixth goal (Getty Images)
Jack Grealish of England scores their team’s sixth goal (Getty Images)
Marcus Rashford celebrates with Harry Kane of England after scoring their team’s fifth goal (Getty Images)
Marcus Rashford celebrates with Harry Kane of England after scoring their team’s fifth goal (Getty Images)
England’s forward #07 Jack Grealish celebrates scoring his team’s sixth goal d (REUTERS)
England’s forward #07 Jack Grealish celebrates scoring his team’s sixth goal d (REUTERS)
England’s forward #07 Jack Grealish celebrates scoring his team’s sixth goal d (AFP via Getty Images)
England’s forward #07 Jack Grealish celebrates scoring his team’s sixth goal d (AFP via Getty Images)
England’s Marcus Rashford scores their side’s fifth goal of the game (PA)
England’s Marcus Rashford scores their side’s fifth goal of the game (PA)
England’s Marcus Rashford (centre) celebrates with Phil Foden (left) and Harry Kane after scoring their side’s fifth goal of the game (PA)
England’s Marcus Rashford (centre) celebrates with Phil Foden (left) and Harry Kane after scoring their side’s fifth goal of the game (PA)
Bukayo Saka of England scores their team’s fourth goa (Getty Images)
Bukayo Saka of England scores their team’s fourth goa (Getty Images)
Bukayo Saka of England celebrates with teammates Harry Kane and Luke Shaw after scoring their team’s fourth goal (The FA via Getty Images)
Bukayo Saka of England celebrates with teammates Harry Kane and Luke Shaw after scoring their team’s fourth goal (The FA via Getty Images)
Mehdi Taremi of IR Iran scores their team’s first goal (Getty Images)
Mehdi Taremi of IR Iran scores their team’s first goal (Getty Images)

But he tried to play on for a minute before he was substituted.

Brain injury charity Headway called the incident “an utter disgrace” as the protocol for head injuries in football was thrust back into the spotlight.

Headway said: “An utter disgrace that the Iranian keeper was allowed to stay on!

“Irrelevant that he then came off a minute later - shouldn’t have stayed on for a second, let alone a minute! First test for FIFA World Cup concussion protocol - and first abject failure!”