Date published: Tuesday 25th August 2020 8:56
England manager Gareth Southgate has dropped Harry Maguire following his conviction in Greece, just hours after selecting and publicly backing the Manchester United captain.
The 27-year-old was the main talking point on Tuesday afternoon when the Three Lions boss named him in his squad, despite an ongoing court hearing on the Greek island of Syros.
Maguire was arrested along with two others, including brother Joe, in the early hours of Friday after an alleged incident in Mykonos, with the defender appearing at a hearing the following day in neighbouring Syros.
The world’s most expensive defender was not at the subsequent court case on Tuesday, when he was found guilty of assaulting a police officer, swearing, resisting arrest and bribery by a Greek court.
The verdict and 21-month suspended prison sentence came just four hours after the England international was called up by Southgate, who had phoned the centre-back to ascertain the facts.
But the conviction – something Maguire vowed to appeal against – has led the Three Lions boss to pull the defender out of the squad for next month’s Nations League double-header against Iceland and Denmark.
“In light of this evening’s developments, I can confirm I have withdrawn Harry Maguire from the England squad for the matches against Iceland and Denmark,” Southgate said in a statement.
“As I said earlier today, I reserved the right to review the situation.
“Having spoken to Manchester United and the player, I have made this decision in the best interests of all parties and with consideration of the impact on our preparations for next week.”
While Maguire says he and his two co-defendants remain “strong and confident regarding our innocence in this matter”, Southgate’s decision to initially select him in these circumstances is sure to be pored over in the coming days and weeks.