Giorgio Chiellini, a former captain of Italy, has defended Manchester United defender Harry Maguire, claiming the Reds have “extremely high expectations” from him.
When England and Italy square off in the Nations League at the San Siro on Friday night, Maguire will be hoping to help England exact revenge on Italy. Maguire is now going through one of the most challenging phases of his career thus far.
His future at Old Trafford is uncertain now that he is no longer in United manager Erik ten Hag’s starting lineup.
He has only started one of the previous six games for United overall and none of their last four Premier League games. He was given a chance to start again for the 1-0 Europa League loss to Real Sociedad a fortnight ago.
He did begin the year wearing the captain’s hat and playing in the center of the defense, but after Brentford’s 4-0 setback, he was benched.
Fortunately for Maguire, it hasn’t hurt his prospects of playing for England, as he was selected for Gareth Southgate’s most recent squad before the World Cup kicked off in less than two months.
However, given the difficulties he has had over the past few months, his United career is at a challenging crossroads.
“I am sad for Maguire’s situation because he is a good player,” Chiellini told The Times. “They [Manchester United] require too much of him.
“Just because they paid £80million for him, he has to be the best in the world every match? It’s not right. The value of the market is dependent on many aspects you can’t control. It’s not your fault.”
“Him and [John] Stones are a good duo. OK, Maguire maybe is not Rio Ferdinand but he’s good enough. With this situation, it’s not helping [England] to do the best.
“If you want to win the World Cup it’s impossible to do it with some problems in the key players, and for sure Maguire is one of the key players of the team.”
Maguire will probably play when England takes on Italy in the UEFA Nations League on Friday at Milan’s San Siro.
On Monday night, the Three Lions face Germany at home in the final encounter of their Nations League group, and they realistically need to win both games to stay out of League B of the competition.
38-year-old Chiellini led Italy to victory against England on penalties at the European Championship last year.
He moved from Juventus to Los Angeles FC in the summer and helped them win the Western Conference by a significant margin.
Giorgio Chiellini Ufficiale OMRI, an Italian-born professional footballer who plays center back for Major League Soccer team Los Angeles FC, was born on August 14, 1984.
Chiellini, who is regarded as one of the best defenders of his time, is well-known for his strength, aggression, and man-marking skills as well as his versatility in either a three- or four-man defense.
He has earlier in his career also played left back.
After making his Italy debut at the 2004 FIFA World Cup, Chiellini was chosen to play for the country in four UEFA European Championships, two FIFA World Cups, and two FIFA Confederations Cups. He also helped the Azzurri win UEFA Euro 2020, make it to the final of UEFA Euro 2012, and place third at the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup.
With 117 caps, Giorgio Chiellini retired from international play in 2022, ranking joint-fourth among Italian players in terms of appearances.