Emile Heskey and Jose Mourinho shared similar views when assessing Manchester United centre-back Harry Maguire’s latest England exhibition.
Speaking on the official England podcast, Heskey highlighted Maguire’s excellent performance at the European Championships last night.
United’s skipper returned to competitive action against the Czech Republic after a nearly two-month injury lay off.
The 28-year-old hardly put a foot wrong all night, striding forward and passing accurately as if he’d never been away.
It was a good introduction just before England embarks on the knockout stages, where they will face one of either France, Germany, Portugal or Hungary.
Heskey was really happy with Maguire’s inclusion and felt the centre-half dominated proceedings.
“I thought he did really well, considering I don’t think he’s had loads of training sessions,” said the former Liverpool striker.
“I thought he did fantastic. Controlled it, bossed it in there.”
Maguire makes England secure
Maguire ensured England kept a third clean consecutive clean sheet in the group stage; 1966 was the last major tournament this was achieved.
He provided just that added bit of experience and composure over Tyron Mings, who had been a decent understudy for United’s captain.
Mourinho shared Heskey views about the Red Devil’s defender being a commanding presence for England.
Writing in his Sun column, Roma’s manager said: “The way England play, with Kyle Walker not as an attacking full back but building as a three and staying back defensively, they are solid and Maguire brought that.
“Mings is doing so well and is a leader and is vocal and gives a certain mentality, but Maguire is Maguire and the team is steady with him.”
Gareth Southgate’s side have some tough tests waiting for them in the elimination phase.
Facing any one of Germany, France or Portugal sends shivers down the spine, plus Hungary can pack a punch.
That is why the Three Lions must lean on players like Maguire who have previous involvement in international competitions to pull them through.
Of course, the exciting talent at Southgate’s disposal can take on any team.
But without a strong spine, their body of attack is worthless.