England manager Gareth Southgate has dropped Harry Maguire following his conviction in Greece, just hours after selecting and publicly backing the Manchester United captain.
The 27-year-old was the main talking point on Tuesday afternoon when the Three Lions boss named him in his squad, despite an ongoing court hearing on the Greek island of Syros.
Maguire was arrested along with two others, including brother Joe, in the early hours of Friday after an alleged incident in Mykonos, with the defender appearing at a hearing the following day in neighbouring Syros.
The world’s most expensive defender was not at the subsequent court case on Tuesday, when he was found guilty of assaulting a police officer, swearing, resisting arrest and bribery by a Greek court.
The verdict and 21-month suspended prison sentence came just four hours after the England international was called up by Southgate, who had phoned the centre-back to ascertain the facts.
But the conviction – something Maguire vowed to appeal against – has led the Three Lions boss to pull the defender out of the squad for next month’s Nations League double-header against Iceland and Denmark.
“In light of this evening’s developments, I can confirm I have withdrawn Harry Maguire from the England squad for the matches against Iceland and Denmark,” Southgate said in a statement.
“As I said earlier today, I reserved the right to review the situation.
“Having spoken to Manchester United and the player, I have made this decision in the best interests of all parties and with consideration of the impact on our preparations for next week.”
Goalkeepers: Dean Henderson, Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope
Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Eric Dier, Joe Gomez, Michael Keane, Tyrone Mings, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker
Midfielders: Phil Foden, Mason Mount, Kalvin Phillips, Declan Rice, James Ward-Prowse, Harry Winks
Forwards: Tammy Abraham, Mason Greenwood, Danny Ings, Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, Raheem Sterling
While Maguire says he and his two co-defendants remain “strong and confident regarding our innocence in this matter”, Southgate’s decision to initially select him in these circumstances is sure to be pored over in the coming days and weeks.
Earlier on Tuesday, Southgate said: “It’s clearly a decision that is not straightforward and a decision that in the end I could only take on the information that I have.
“I have spoken with Harry. I have the insight to the story, which is very different to what’s being reported.
“And in these instances, I think you can only make decisions on facts that you’re aware of.
“Now clearly if facts change further down the line or information changes, then I have to review that decision.
“But I have a fantastic relationship with the boy. Harry has been an outstanding character for us.
“I have no reason to doubt what he’s telling me and, you know, it’s important that he knows that he’s got my support at this moment.”
Southgate would not offer insight into what Maguire said because of the ongoing legal situation but was more forthcoming about his personality, saying he has been “absolutely outstanding” for England and a “delight to work with.”
The England boss added that “this is clearly a situation that none of us are enjoying” – highlighting the difficulty for the centre-back and his family at a time when so much is under scrutiny.
“Well, I think we recognise that if you’re a player with England, that has a profile, and there are expectations and there was also attention and focus that goes with that,” Southgate added in the virtual press conference.
“Clearly if you’re the captain of a club like Manchester United, that’s the same, so he’s fully aware of that.
“And, you know, I think it’s the same for all of our players, really. We know that there’s a responsibility in wider society.”
Phillips, Foden and Greenwood get maiden calls
Kalvin Phillips, Mason Greenwood and Phil Foden have all been called up for the first time by England.
It has been nearly 10 months since Gareth Southgate last named a squad, but there have been tough decisions to make right up until Tuesday afternoon’s selection.
The 24-man squad to face Iceland and Denmark in the Nations League includes Man United’s teenager Greenwood, whose fine breakthrough season has led to a first call-up.
Manchester City playmaker Foden has also been brought into the senior squad for the first time along with Leeds defensive midfielder Kalvin Phillips after impressing for the Sky Bet Championship winners.
He could now become the the club’s first player to feature for the Three Lions since Alan Smith, who came on as a substitute in their clash against Sweden in 2004.
Danny Ings’ fine form for Southampton has seen him called up for the first time since making his debut in 2015, while Kyle Walker has been recalled having not played for England since the Nations League finals last June.
City team-mate John Stones has been left out of the squad, but Raheem Sterling got the the nod despite questions over his availability.
There is no place for Callum Hudson-Odoi, Fikayo Tomori, Danny Rose and Callum Wilson having been in the squad to face Kosovo in November, while Ross Barkley and Fabian Delph are also conspicuous by their absence.
Jordan Henderson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ben Chilwell and James Maddison miss out through injury.
On the call-ups for Foden and Greenwood, Southgate said: “They are used to coming here and have been involved with England in the junior teams, so for them they are used to being part of an England team.
“This is a step up for them, but they are both more than capable. They have shown playing in big matches at big clubs that they are talented boys.
“They are both hugely exciting players and I think they will be part of England’s future.
“We have given them the opportunity, it is up to them to go and take it forward, but there is no reason why they can’t be involved with England for years to come.
“You are always questioning with those young players when is the right time to move them up, we felt now is a good time.
“We are a year away from a European Championship and let’s see if they can start to break into that team, that squad.
“It gives us great competition for places, they are realistic challenges.”