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Harry Maguire shows glimpse of his rarely-acknowledged ability v Czech Republic

Apart from being a towering presence at the back for Manchester United and England, another very underrated aspect of Harry Maguire’s game is his ball-playing ability.

Maguire is adept at breaking the lines of the opposition unit from deep and has done it time and time again for both club and country over the last couple of years: the most recent example of which came in England’s group stage clash against the Czech Republic in the 2020 European Championship.

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It was Maguire’s first start of EURO 2020 as he came in to replace Tyrone Mings at the heart of the English defence, and he fit in like a glove to keep out any Czech attack whatsoever.

Not only did he do his defensive duties, but Maguire’s ability with his feet was also on display throughout the match – as the Manchester United captain effortlessly broke lines of attack and midfield from centre back, most particularly in one instance when he sent Harry Kane through on goal.

In the first half, Maguire threaded through an incredible through ball that split the Czech defence in half and sent England captain Kane through on goal.

Maguire showed some extraordinary vision, technique, and ability to come up with a pass from central defence that most primarily creative players would be proud of, as he took out the entirety of the Czech Republic block to find Kane in the penalty area.

Kane shimmied past a defender but was unable to fire a shot on target, as the brilliantly created England chance out of nowhere went begging.

Maguire’s spell at Manchester United has polarized general opinion so far. While his harshest critics think that he has barely done justice to the world record transfer fee spent in order to acquire his services from Leicester City in 2019, his admirers would put forward the argument that United have been a much better side defensively after his arrival.

And yet, Maguire is much more than just a defensive presence – as his defence-splitting pass for England against the Czech Republic stands testimony of his rarely-acknowledged ball-playing ability for club and country.

Video via Sony Liv

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By Sagarneel Chakraborty

Living and breathing everything regarding the beautiful game for a decade. Avid follower of all things football, with a soft corner for the Blues.

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