Harry Maguire transfer – Good enough for England?

We are going to look at the Harry Maguire Transfer from Hull City to Leicester City next. Interest was reportedly high in the young English defender. However it is believed he personally opted to join Leicester after Hull City’s relegation. There’s no point pretending, this is a great bit of business by Leicester…

 

author dom fellowes, licensed under terms of CC-BY-2.0

Harry Maguire 

Age: 24

Nationality:  

Position: centre-back

Transfer Fee: £17mil

Contract Length: 5 years

2016/17 League Stats: 25 starts (4 sub appearances) 2 goals (2 assists)

 

Verdict: This is a good deal for a number of reasons. Maguire is still young, especially in defensive terms, he has considerable potential to grow. He is also proven in England and the Premiership. Despite Hull’s relegation last year he was somewhat of a standout performer, consistently impressing in the defence of one of the weaker teams. Given the current inflated transfer market £17mil also looks an absolute steal.

 

Leicester have been in desperate need of defensive reinforcements since their title win. Wes Morgan and Robert Huth were both fantastic that year and played a major part in the club’s success but last year showed they would not be able to keep that form up forever. Both are now 33 years old and I think it’s fair to say there has been some decline. Both have never been blessed with or relied on great pace and Leicester’s deep, compact defensive shape has played to their strengths. Even so, last season, there were times when they, like the rest of the team, struggled.

 

Given their age I don’t think they are capable or that’s it reasonable to expect them to feature every week. Back-ups such as Benalouane and recently retired Wasilewski have only been trusted a limited amount in recent seasons and haven’t completely convinced. In Maguire they have not only signed a capable deputy now but also a potential successor already.

 

Like Leicester’s other centre-backs Maguire isn’t blessed with great pace but as mentioned their defensive line should benefit his game greatly. The centre-backs play so close to their goal that their lack of pace is rarely exposed. Whilst also like the other centre-backs Maguire is physically strong and good in the air, which is exactly how Leicester have encouraged other teams to attack them, playing to the strengths of their defenders. You could say in some respects he’s like old-fashioned, English centre-halves of the past.

 

Maguire has a lot more to his game however than being a no nonsense, English centre-half. He’s also good with the ball at his feet. Technically he’s very good for a centre-back, especially one as big as he is. He can drive out from the back with the ball with decent dribbling ability. Whilst he has a good range of passing. Given the space Leicester naturally create in front of their strikers to run on to through balls, this should also suit Maguire from an attacking point of view. We could see some more assists from him this season or certainly more defence splitting passes to quickly turn defence into attack.

 

Harry Maguire looks ready made for Leicester.

 

In modern football there has been a bit of an obsession over the last few years with ball playing defenders and building up play from the back, at least in England. Pep.’s all conquering Barcelona team might have something to do with it. From an English perspective the failure to ever replace Rio of even John Terry might also have something to do with it too. England have had a rich history of good centre-backs despite international under-achievement but in recent years there’s been a real lack of quality defenders.

 

In my opinion this has something to do with why so much hope has been placed on the progress of John Stones. He is seen as the heir to this somewhat iconic role. However his development has stalled in the last couple of seasons. Physically and technically he has the attributes but when it comes to the basics of his defending, there’s still something missing. He doesn’t seem to have a defensive instinct for danger.

 

I mention this here because Maguire recently got called up by England for the first time and there is a similarity between what both the young defenders offer. Stones is superior physically in terms of pace and balance on the ball. Whereas Maguire has shown he is a more natural defender. Whilst despite their similar ages Stones has far more experience on the highest stages and would still deservedly be ahead in the England pecking order but my main point here is that maybe England now have a viable alternative if Stones still continues to struggle to develop to the levels everyone had once hoped he would.

 

It is believed that Maguire turned down Tottenham to join Leicester, likely for game-time reasons. Which is a good decision. Whilst as a youngster at Sheffield Utd he was strongly linked to Man Utd. If his rapid progression continues at its current rate it won’t be long before a big club comes calling again with an offer of considerable more than the £17mil Leicester paid and with first team assurances.

 

In terms of England Cahill has never fully convinced in the big tournaments, Smalling doesn’t look like he’s going to be a starter at Utd and Phil Jones’ injury problems are known to everyone. It’s a position in the team which is crying out for someone to make their own. The World Cup might come too soon but beyond that Maguire has a real chance to stake a claim as a possible England centre-back.

 

 

What do you think? Maguire future England international? Best buy of the summer? Let me know below.

 

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