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Gareth Southgate admits he feared for Harry Maguire's career following his sending off against Denmark last month.
But the England boss is convinced Maguire can put his recent troubles behind him after scoring in the 3-0 demolition of the Republic of Ireland on his debut as captain.
Manchester United star Maguire looked a broken man after seeing red in the 1-0 defeat to the Danes at Wembley just under a month ago.
It came on the back of a turbulent period both on and off the pitch for the 27-year-old that saw him convicted of aggravated assault in Greece following a drunken brawl with police.
Maguire has appealed his conviction, which saw him axed from the England squad in September and his club form suffer an alarming dip.
Southgate insists he was worried about Maguire's immediate future, but is convinced his towering display against the Irish will help him get right back on track.
Maguire will be suspended for tomorrow's Nations League clash in Belgium, but Southgate said: "I was really pleased with Harry.
"I felt that the red card could bottom everything out. You could see on his face when he was walking off the pitch that night, how he was just having one of those spells where he must have felt everything was against him.
"I had some good conversations with him and I know his club would have supported him and his club performances were solid after that.
"Against Ireland I thought it was important to get him back in an England shirt. It was a lovely moment for him to captain the team and to get the goal as well is a real boost – so that was great to see."
England, meanwhile, will continue their preparations as normal ahead of the Belgium clash, despite Ireland star Alan Browne testing positive for Covid-19 following the defeat on Thursday night.
The FA insist the 'Return to Play' protocols put in place and designed to legislate for cases like this, will not affect Southgate and his stars.
- England Football Team
- Harry Maguire
- Manchester United FC
- Gareth Southgate
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