Southgate is taking his biggest England gamble with loyalty to Harry Maguire | Jacob Steinberg

Manager must hope he is not burned in Qatar by keeping faith in a centre-back picked on reputation rather than formOf all the issues facing England before they open their World Cup campaign by facing Iran on Monday afternoon, nothing feels more pressing than the question of whether Gareth Southgate will end up regretting his decision to stick by Harry Maguire.The potential for everything to go wrong because of a stumble from a centre-back fortunate even to be in the squad is obvious. This, more than anything, is the call that has to come off for Southgate. This a manager derided for his caution opening himself up to derision by playing with fire, albeit with an act of recklessness that feels pragmatic and limiting: a tactical choice that somehow manages to come across both as a risk and an example of the safety-first approach that threatens to hold England back.

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