Harry Maguire will return from Russia and head straight into negotiations over a new contract at Leicester City.
The Foxes’ centre-half has been one of Gareth Southgate’s stand-out performers at the World Cup and will be offered a pay hike to reflect his new standing.
For a long time there has been unease about the growing disconnect between fans and remote multi-millionaire players. The solution might now be summarised as: Harry Maguire.
English football is flash. But this England team are un-flash, anti-flash, even though some will be sucked back into Premier League preening when they go home. A few will need grounding again after their exploits here in Russia. ‘You’re not at the World Cup now, son. We’ve got a Carabao Cup game this week – and you’re playing.’
Maguire only joined Leicester 12 months ago but he has answered every question asked of him during a stunning opening campaign in the Premier League. And his performance with the Three Lions has only added to his value.
The former Sheffield United trainee already earns close to £5m-a-year but can expect further improvements if he extends his deal with the club.
Maguire will be pegged at a level similar to fellow Three Lions star Jamie Vardy – another who is understood to be in talks over improved terms.
Leicester believe that Maguire could now fit into any top-six team and they are anxious, in the wake of Riyad Mahrez’s up-coming exit, to retain as many of their current side as possible.
After the 2-0 win over Sweden he told us: “With Gareth’s man management he speaks to every player individually after every game, it’s incredible. Really good and really confidence building. So we had a little chat after my debut and obviously you feel the pressure, you feel the nerves. He’s helped settle them.”
No nerves are apparent in his constructive passing from the back: a skill he shares with John Stones. This ability to start moves from the rear, retain possession under pressure and join set-piece plays up the pitch has established Maguire rapidly as a vital component in Southgate’s plan.
His rumbling runs into the opposition penalty box and mighty headers were bound to capture the affections of England’s followers, especially as Maguire is recognisable as a player from the old heartlands of the English game, rather than its perimeter-fenced, luxury academies.