Football

Maguire given suspended prison sentence after England call-up

After call-up, United captain was given suspended prison sentence by Greek court

England manager Gareth Southgate says a conversation with Harry Maguire convinced him to name the Manchester United captain in the squad for Nations League matches against Iceland and Denmark despite his arrest on assault charges.

Maguire was arrested last week after a fight with another group at a nightclub on the Greek island of Mykonos and spent two nights in custody.

The 27-year-old defender, who has 26 England caps, has flown back home but his trial went ahead in his absence yesterday. Southgate has opted to stand by the centre-back, who denied the charges.

After the squad was announced, Maguire was then handed a suspended prison sentence by a Greek court after he was found guilty on four counts.

British media reported he had been found guilty of repeated bodily harm, attempted bribery, violence against public employees and insult after his arrest in Mykonos.

Speaking before the verdict, Southgate was convinced he had made the right decision after speaking to Maguire, who became the world's most expensive defender following his £80 million (S$143.4m) move from Leicester City to United last year.

"It is clearly a decision that is not straightforward," Southgate told a press conference yesterday.

"I have spoken with Harry. I have the insight to the story which is very different to what is being recorded. You can only make decisions on facts you are aware of.

"If facts or information change, I will have to review that decision, but I have a fantastic relationship with the boy - he has been a fantastic character for us. He has my support at this moment."

Stressing that one always makes decisions to the best of one's ability, given the information one has, Southgate added: "People may agree or disagree with those decisions, but it is a position where every manager finds himself.

"Harry regrets the fact he has brought that sort of focus and attention to the team. He apologised for that but also has his own side of the story."

England have not played since last November, when a 4-0 win in Kosovo concluded their Euro 2020 qualification campaign.

Southgate's side face Iceland in Reykjavik on Sept 5 before playing Denmark in Copenhagen on Sept 8.

FIRST CALL-UPS

Maguire's off-field issues overshadowed first call-ups for youngsters Phil Foden, Mason Greenwood and Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips.

Foden, 20, has emerged as a future star in Manchester City's midfield, while the goals of 18-year-old striker Greenwood were key to Manchester United qualifying for next season's Champions League.

"They are both hugely exciting players who can be part of England's future. It is up to them to take it forward," said Southgate. - AFP


ENGLAND SQUAD

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

Football