‘John has made a little blip tonight but he’ll come back strong’: Harry Maguire stands behind ‘brilliant’ centre-back partner Stones over bungling error that gifted Poland an equaliser in England’s 2-1 World Cup qualifier win
- Harry Maguire has defended John Stones over his big mistake against Poland
- Maguire said Stones’ error that allowed Poland’s equaliser was just ‘a little blip’
- The Manchester United captain scored England’s winner with Stones’ assist
Harry Maguire has come out in staunch defence of his fellow centre-back John Stones’ ‘little blip’ after he made another blunder that led to Poland’s equaliser in England’s eventual 2-1 win on Wednesday.
Stones has experienced a revival for Manchester City this season, returning to the first team and playing his best football for years.
But he reminded Gareth Southgate and England fans that he remains prone to dropping a clanger when he lost possession just outside England’s penalty area and allowed Jakub Moder to equalise at Wembley.
Harry Maguire has thrown his support behind John Stones over his mistake against Poland
Stones was caught on the ball outside his own area, letting Jakub Moder (left) steal in to score
But Maguire was full of praise for Stones’ response to his blunder. Stones provided the headed assist that the Manchester United captain smashed into the net to ensure England ran out winners on the night.
‘John’s been brilliant this year. We’re defenders, we make mistakes and when we make mistakes we get scrutinised,’ Maguire told ITV.
‘Obviously (he made) one little mistake but he makes up for it with a great header at the back post. I said to him, “Just keep going, keep going we’ll get the win” and we managed to do that.’
Maguire (centre) smashed home past Wojciech Szczesny (third right) to make it 2-1 to England
As someone prone to the odd error himself, Maguire highlighted how defenders receive much more scrutiny than other outfield players.
‘We’re defenders, we always make mistakes,’ he said. ‘We don’t like making mistakes but sometimes we are at fault for goals. We’re not perfect.
‘John has made a little blip tonight but he’ll come back strong; he’s in great form for club, he’s in great form for country.
‘It was a good performance from him to come back strong in the reaction that he made and to get the assist is important for the team.’
Stones made amends for his error by providing the headed assist for Maguire’s winning goal
With victory over Poland, England made it three straight wins in qualifying for Qatar 2022. While Southgate may still demand greater fluency and cohesion from his team, Maguire said he was delighted to take all three points.
‘It’s a big win. We are playing to play at a World Cup,’ he said.
‘We started the game really well, but the second half we didn’t start well at all. We took control when they equalised and it’s nice to get the victory.’