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Dublin: 14 °C Monday 3 August, 2020

Maguire: England don't understand Nations League concept

The Leicester City defender is unsure how the concept works, insisting that manager Gareth Southgate had to study the permutations closely.

England face Spain this weekend.
England face Spain this weekend.
Image: PA

HARRY MAGUIRE ADMITS he does not understand the Uefa Nations League concept and does not believe that his team-mates do either.

England face Spain this weekend and are included in League A, comprising the top 12 European teams. These 12 teams are split into four different groups, with World Cup finalists Croatia making up the Three Lions’ group.

League B includes the likes of Wales, Russia and Republic of Ireland, League C has the likes of Scotland, Greece and Norway, while League D features the lowest-ranked teams, including Gibraltar, Kosovo and Malta.

Four teams – those that finish bottom in their groups – will be relegated from Leagues A to B, B to C and C to D. Conversely, four teams – those that finish top of their groups – will be promoted from Leagues D to C, C to B and B to A.

Once the sixth matchday has finished, four teams – the winners of Groups 1-4 in League A – compete in two semi-finals (on 5 and 6 June) with a third-place play-off and final following (on 9 June).

Maguire, though, remains unsure, so he is taking the sensible step of going one game at a time.

“It is quite confusing – I don’t know what you guys think of it?” Maguire asked journalists, per the Daily Telegraph. “The boss tried to explain it to us the best he could the other day. I think he has got his head around it now, but it took a lot of studying.

“It is confusing, but we are trying to get our heads round it. For us players, we just go into each game trying to win it and see where it takes us. So we will see after the game.”

Maguire was a star of England’s run to the World Cup semi-finals in the summer, and while he says he still watches clips of certain matches, he feels that the Three Lions could have won the tournament.

“I still see little clips now and again, and you get that little bit of a buzz and you still have the memories, but I still have that bit inside me which is a bit disappointed,” he added.

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“It does make me feel a little bit gutted at times to think how close we were. We had one foot in the final of a World Cup so if you look back at that game it is disappointing. But then you look at the experience and what we did for the country, everyone getting right behind us, and it was something really special and something we want to do again in the future.”

Gareth Southgate has switched things up in his squad, dropping Ashley Young and calling up Fulham goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli.

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