Why Marc Guehi showed that he was the perfect Maguire replacement against Serbia
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Why Marc Guehi showed that he was the perfect Maguire replacement against Serbia

16/06/24 21:15

The majority of the headlines will go to the likes of Jude Bellingham and Bukayo Saka as England hung on to their slim lead to beat Serbia 1-0 in their Euro 2024 opener.

But it was their defensive performance that I thought was particularly important as Serbia pushed for an equaliser.

With Harry Maguire ruled out of the tournament due to injury, it was up to Marc Guehi to step into the back four for his debut in a major tournament for the Three Lions. This article explores why he is the perfect replacement for Maguire, and why he was my Man of the Match for the game.

In Possession

Maguire isn’t particularly known for being comfortable on the ball but the mistakes he does make tend to be for Manchester United rather than England. Guehi proved tonight that he can be trusted on the ball, playing sideways and forwards without issue, something that England fans were happy to see.

He also positioned himself excellently to ease the pressure on his teammates as Serbia pressed higher up the pitch to try and work their way back into the game. Overall, I felt that the backline that started the night, but especially Guehi, was calm and collected in possession which allowed the midfield and attack to play such a fluid game in the first half.

Out of Possession

In the second half, when Serbia put England under a lot of pressure, we saw the other side of Guehi’s game. He read the Eagles’ attacks well, tracking the runs of Dusan Vlahovic and Aleksandar Mitrovic and negating the aerial threats that they usually pose. He made no rash ventures into midfield to win the ball and was successfully level headed in his defensive actions.

Attacking Threat

The only thing that Maguire provides to the England team that Guehi lacks is his threat from set pieces. Maguire has seven goals from England and is often the player that England’s set piece takers aim to find. Guehi isn’t particularly known for his aerial presence from corners so England will have to settle with relying on Harry Kane when putting a cross into the box.

Overall Performance

Guehi’s mature performance suggested that he had been playing for England for decades but in reality, he is relatively inexperienced, especially compared to the rest of the back four.

Against Serbia, he put in a really impressive display, and if he continues like that, Maguire might have a hard time retaking his spot in the England XI.

Match Rating: 9/10

Benji Kosartiyer
Journalist
Jake Martin

Writer

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