Bruno Fernandes gives his verdict on Harry Maguire's performance vs Iran
Despite only starting one Premier League game since August and coming into the tournament in Qatar somewhat undercooked, Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate once again restored his faith in Manchester United’s club captain.
United legend Rio Ferdinand felt that the 29-year-old’s special relationship with Southgate and his faultless performances in an England shirt meant he was always going to get the nod against Carlos Queiroz’s Iran.
The world’s most expensive defender should have been awarded a penalty in the opening stages of England’s 6-2 win after being hauled to the ground.
But despite VAR taking a look at the decision – no penalty was awarded. As well as providing the assist for Bukayo Saka’s first World Cup goal, United’s number five hit the bar with a thumping header from a Kieran Trippier corner.
The former Leicester City centre-back looks to carry more of a threat at set pieces for the Three Lions then he does for Manchester United.
Bruno Fernandes gives his verdict on Harry Maguire’s performance
The only real blemish in Maguire’s performance was the manner in which Porto striker Mehdi Taremi ghosted in-behind him, inside the penalty area, before smashing the ball past Jordan Pickford via the underside of the bar.
But seconds prior to Iran reducing the deficit, Maguire was hunched over and had signalled to the England bench that he wasn’t able to continue.
Maguire explained why he was brought off in the 70th minute with a post on his Instagram story.
The 49-time England international wrote: “I felt unwell in the second half so came off as a precaution. Looking forward to Friday.”
Maguire will be hoping to prove his fitness ahead of England’s second Group B game against USA on Friday evening, but his performance against Iran impressed his United teammate Fernandes.
United’s number eight replied to Maguire’s Instagram post: “Big performance”.
Fernandes’ Portugal kickstart their World Cup campaign against Ghana on Thursday.