Ferdinand drops Maguire down England pecking order and promotes Everton star Keane


The former Manchester United and Three Lions star believes the current Red Devils captain is not doing enough to start for his country

Harry Maguire may be Manchester United captain and a mainstay for England, but Rio Ferdinand says the £80 million ($113m) centre-half is no longer deserving of a starting spot with the Three Lions and should be dropped behind Michael Keane in the pecking order.

Gareth Southgate is in the process of piecing together his plans for this summer’s European Championship, with 2022 World Cup qualifiers against San Marino, Albania and Poland in March set to aid that process.

Maguire will, fitness permitting, be expecting to figure in those contests, but Ferdinand says the 27-year-old should not be guaranteed a starting spot as rivals from Manchester City and Everton have risen above him.

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What has been said?

Ferdinand, who won 81 caps for England, has told the FIVE YouTube channel on who should be filling centre-half berths for the Three Lions: “On form Michael Keane all day.

“There wouldn’t be a person in the country who is watching Premier League games week-in-week-out who would tell you Maguire is more consistent than Michael Keane at the moment. Not a chance.

“Michael Keane has been playing at Everton consistently as the centre-back there, so right now I’d say Michael Keane and John Stones. Who else is going to be there? Who else can you pick?

“Stones has just come back to form, so he’s in contention again, and he’s got the experience above others, which is a plus for him. So I think at the moment it is really who plays with Stones.

“And in terms of form, Maguire seems to not be in great form at the moment. So if you’re looking for another, Michael Keane I would say is the next in line for me. If you’re going on form, you don’t pick [Maguire].”

How many times has Maguire played for England?

The Red Devils skipper has represented his country on 30 occasions.

He made his debut in the autumn of 2017 in a World Cup qualification clash with Lithuania.

Maguire would go on to make Southgate’s squad for that tournament in Russia, with a prominent role played in a memorable run to the semi-finals.

He has scored two goals for England and remained a regular despite questions being asked of his off-field activity and on-field form in 2020.

Who else is in contention?

Michael Keane, England

Keane’s fine form for Everton is allowing him to stake a serious claim for a spot in England’s starting XI.

Stones has also rediscovered a spark this season at Manchester City, with the 26-year-old making it impossible for Pep Guardiola to leave him out.

Tyrone Mings of Aston Villa is another to have seen regular outings for the Three Lions of late, with Tottenham’s Eric Dier another option for Southgate to consider.

Selection calls heading forward will depend on the system that England favour, with tweaks to a three-man defensive unit seeing Manchester City right-back Kyle Walker slotted into a centre-half berth at times.

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