Evening Express

Harry Maguire: Half-time player discussion helped us raise our game

Defender Harry Maguire revealed a dressing-room showdown at half-time between the players helped England go on to beat Switzerland 1-0 in their friendly at Leicester.

Gareth Southgate’s much-changed side struggled to get hold of possession for long spells, while also giving the ball away cheaply.

Eventually, though, Marcus Rashford broke the deadlock with a close-range finish on 54 minutes as the Three Lions eventually produced a positive response from the UEFA Nations League defeat to Spain at Wembley on Friday.

England’s Harry Maguire (centre) felt the side improved in the second half. (Nick Potts/PA)

“There were definitely a few words spoken between the boys, all of us, we weren’t happy with the performance at half-time,” Leicester centre-half Maguire said on Sky Sports.

“We were giving them a little bit too much respect with the ball, the pressing was bits and bobs, people going and people staying.

“The gaffer had a stern word with us and the second half was much better.”

Maguire added: “We struggled early on in the game, but we want to be confident in playing from the back and we did it better in the second half.

“We want to keep on playing like that, but we do not want to give the ball away and give chances away.

“We had to stop the rot and did well tonight, now we can take it on to the next game.”

England boss Southgate revealed he “encouraged” the players to address any issues within themselves.

“We expect that, and we encourage that, it is important they have a view,” he said.

“They are intelligent footballers, and they should have a view about what is going on.

“We want an environment which is demanding, it is the only way we can keep really raising the standards.”

Southgate felt it had been a testing encounter.

“Switzerland are an excellent team, their movement was really good and they kept the ball really well, we had to chase too much, so there was definitely room for improvement,” he said.

“We didn’t get hold of the pivot in the first half, (Granit) Xhaka was always available to their back three too easily. They were overloading midfield.

“We altered the shape in the second half a bit, which helped, and also kept the ball better.”

Leicester defender Ben Chilwell was proud to have been able to make a senior England debut at his home stadium.

“I was nervous and excited and it was good to get on,” he said.

“My friends and family are here, all the Leicester staff. I have been here since 12, it was a very special night.”