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Jordan Pickford hails ‘legend’ Harry Maguire for World Cup against Iran and insists Manchester United star has been vital to his own Three Lions form


England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford has praised team-mate Harry Maguire after his superb performance against Iran in their World Cup opener.

The Manchester United centre-back entered the 2022 tournament in Qatar with a host of question marks over his head, but you wouldn’t have known it on Monday afternoon.

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Maguire looked superb on Monday as England beat Iran – despite fears over his pre-tournament form

Jordan Pickford hails ‘legend’ Harry Maguire for World Cup against Iran and insists Manchester United star has been vital to his own Three Lions form

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And Pickford and Maguire rely on each other in an England shirt

A torrid time with the Red Devils and some shaky performances at recent internationals have even seen some fans boo the unworthy player.

He has played just nine club games throughout the campaign and many believe a lack of fitness should cause manager Gareth Southgate to change.

Instead, he continued as a trusted starter for the 6-2 win and not only was the 29-year-old solid in his defensive duties, he made a huge impact on the pitch.

His passing was excellent throughout while on several occasions he progressed with the ball, moving England into dangerous areas down the left side.

And the Everton keeper reiterated how essential he was to victory ahead of a huge Group B clash with the United States on Friday night – live on talkSPORT.

Asked about Maguire’s performance, Pickford said: “Really good the other night with the first goal with the assist and then the assist from the free kick, and he might have gotten us a penalty early with the decision of the VAR which went against us.”

Jordan Pickford hails ‘legend’ Harry Maguire for World Cup against Iran and insists Manchester United star has been vital to his own Three Lions form

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Maguire provided an assist for Saka’s first goal against Iran and was a threat throughout the centre-back


And Pickford believes his excellent spell between the sticks for the Three Lions is partly down to Maguire being ahead of him.

The pair have played together 35 times for the national team since 2017, winning 22 times and losing just nine times, three of them via penalty shootout.

So while some may feel Maguire shouldn’t have started, Pickford are delighted to have been able to renew a successful partnership as they seek to win the World Cup.

“We have a great relationship,” he added. “I think the majority of my caps have been with Harry playing in front of me.

“We work very well together and I think the defensive record we have with Harry playing there is also very good.

Jordan Pickford hails ‘legend’ Harry Maguire for World Cup against Iran and insists Manchester United star has been vital to his own Three Lions form

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Maguire was substituted after feeling ill against Iran but looks fit and ready to face USA on Friday night

“He is in a very good moment. Harry is a [legend] and really nice to work with.

Another man impressed with Maguire was former England international Gabriel Agbonlahor who insisted that all doubters apologize.

Agbonlahor believes those who doubted him now owe him an apology.

He told talkSPORT Breakfast: “For me Maguire was outstanding. When the team was announced I looked on Twitter and it was all ‘I can’t believe Maguire is starting’.

“I figured anyone who doubted him should apologise. Harry Maguire was outstanding. A threat in the air in the attacking box, defensively he was solid.

talkSPORT World Cup 2022 coverage

talkSPORT will provide wall-to-wall coverage of the 2022 World Cup

We will broadcast all 64 matches of the tournament live, with over 600 hours of coverage on our network.

You can tune into talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2 via our free online streaming service at talkSPORT.com.

talkSPORT is widely available across the UK via DAB digital radio and on 1089 or 1053 AM.

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