Matchwinner Maguire defends ‘brilliant’ Stones following his ‘blip’ against Poland

Harry Maguire has defended John Stones following his ‘blip’ against Poland and has praised the defender’s response in England’s 2-1 win at Wembley.

England maintained their perfect start to World Cup qualification with a hard-fought win over Poland, with Maguire lashing home a late winner with five minutes remaining to seal all three points for the Three Lions.

Gareth Southgate’s side had been in danger of dropping valuable points following a glaring mistake from Manchester City centre-back Stones, who carelessly conceded possession on the edge of his own penalty area in the build-up to Jakub Moder’s equaliser for the visitors.

Stones bounced back from his mistake and provided the assist for Maguire’s winner with a strong header back across goal and the matchwinner defended the 26-year-old following his initial mistake.

“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 insisted that being liable for mistakes comes with the territory of being a defender, but has backed Stones to ‘come back strong’ with the centre-back having been in great form for both club and country so far this season.

“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.”

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