Maguire's England place may be untenable, says Carragher

Jamie Carragher believes Harry Maguire's England place may now be untenable and thinks the defender must leave Manchester United to recapture his best form.

Maguire started United's first two games of the Premier League season – defeats to Brighton and Hove Albion and Brentford – but has been relegated to the bench amid a four-game winning run for Erik ten Hag's men.

Maguire's lack of game-time at Old Trafford led to criticism of Gareth Southgate's decision to select him for England's Nations League ties against Italy and Germany, and the defender did not help his case with two nervous performances.

Having started as the Three Lions were relegated from League A with a meek 1-0 loss in Milan last week, Maguire gave away a penalty in Monday's 3-3 draw with Germany.

On Wednesday, former Liverpool and England defender Carragher said criticism of Maguire's performances was justified, writing in the Telegraph: "Harry Maguire should be angry.

"He should be angry that he has gone from England's best defender at the 2018 World Cup and 2020 Euros, where he was named in the team of the tournament, to being presented as a laughing stock.

"He should be angry that he has gone from a player England fans saw as 'one of their own' when singing his name incessantly during internationals, to someone who some supporters think it justified to boo whenever his name is announced in the stadium.

"He should be angry that he finds himself fighting to justify his place in England's World Cup squad on the back of being left in limbo at Manchester United.

"And he should also be angry when looking at himself and asking; 'how have I allowed it to come to this', when not so long ago he would have been alongside Harry Kane as one of the first names on Gareth Southgate's team sheet.

"No-one deserves the kind of mockery coming Maguire's way. Some of the criticism towards him is that which you would expect directed at bad apples – poor characters who undermine their clubs or teams.

"Maguire is not that. But strong reactions are inevitable when you become an £80million player.

"Criticism of his performance against Germany is valid and justified and Southgate must assess if Maguire is mentally right for a World Cup, able to show he can put all the issues behind him.

"In the past, it is something Maguire has struggled with. How can the manager make such a big call before the opening game against Iran unless Maguire is playing for his club?

"'We've got to pick our best and experienced players unless we're in a situation where it is almost untenable,' Southgate said on Monday night. Unfortunately for Maguire, we may already be at that stage."

With Ten Hag preferring Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez at the heart of a new-look United defence, Carragher thinks the time has come for Maguire to call time on his spell at Old Trafford.

"Too often, it looks as if the weight of the world is on his shoulders, like he is a startled bunny more than the authoritative centre-back he was," Carragher added.

"I think it is too late at club level. I wrote last year he was fighting for his Manchester United career.  He needs this to be his final season at Old Trafford and start afresh. Now it is England's problem.

"When I watched Maguire in the last two games, I felt sorry for him. But that is not a good look for any sports person. Sympathy will not get him back where he was two years ago."

Having failed to win any of their last six matches, England are experiencing their longest winless run going into a major tournament, and their worst patch of form since another sequence of six games without victory in 1993.