Harry Maguire in England squad as his trial opens in Greece
England manager Gareth Southgate picked defender Harry Maguire in his Nations League squad on Tuesday (Aug 25) despite the Manchester United captain having been detained by police over a brawl on the Greek island of Mykonos.
Maguire pleaded not guilty and was released from police custody after his arrest in Mykonos last week. The 27-year-old centre-back is being represented by his lawyers in court at a hearing on Tuesday.
“It is clearly a decision that is not straightforward and a decision that I could only take on the information I have,” Southgate told a news conference.
“I have spoken to Harry, I have the insight to the story which is very different to what is being reported. Clearly if facts change or information changes, I have to review that decision.
“I have a fantastic relationship with Harry... I have no reason to doubt what he is telling me.”
According to some British and Greek media on the spot, Maguire’s lawyers raised procedural issues which could lead to the trial being postponed.
The defender was arrested late last Thursday after a fight with another group at a nightclub in Mykonos.
Greek media reported that the fight started when someone in the other group hurt Maguire’s sister.
“Three British men, one of whom is a footballer for a British team, attacked police officers on Thursday night, slightly injuring four of them and were arrested,” Petros Vassilakis, a Syros police official, told AFP on Friday.
The police asked the three men to follow them to the station, but they tried to escape, Vassilakis said.
According to the official police statement, a second fight broke out at the local police station where the three men “fiercely resisted, pushing and hitting three officers”, according to the same statement.
One of the suspects then tried to bribe the officers to cover up the incident, according to a Greek police source.
The court heard that Maguire asked police: “Do you know who I am? I am the captain of Manchester United. I am very rich. I can give you money. I can pay you. Let us go.”
According to his defence, Maguire reacted after being taunted by a policeman, who according to media reports said: “Your career is over.”
Along with his brother and a friend, Maguire was brought before the prosecutor on Syros, the capital of the Cyclades, on Saturday and charged.
England captain Harry Kane is available for the Nations League matches against Iceland and Denmark next month despite being in quarantine following a trip to the Bahamas.
United duo Dean Henderson and Mason Greenwood, Manchester City midfielder Phil Foden and Leeds United’s Kalvin Phillips will all have chance to make their international debuts.
Southgate’s England side have not played since November last year due to the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, which also forced Euro 2020 to be pushed back a year.
England face Iceland on Sept 5 in Reykjavik before taking on Denmark in Copenhagen on Sept 8. – REUTERS, AFP
Goalkeepers: Dean Henderson, Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope
Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Eric Dier, Joe Gomez, Michael Keane, Harry Maguire, Tyrone Mings, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker
Midfielders: Phil Foden, Mason Mount, Kalvin Phillips, Declan Rice, James Ward-Prowse, Harry Winks
Forwards: Tammy Abraham, Mason Greenwood, Danny Ings, Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, Raheem Sterling