Football News

Czech Republic striker picks out the weak link in England’s XI

By Ben Green

Published: 18:55, 21 March 2019

Czech Republic and Burnley striker Matej Vydra has identified Leicester City defender Harry Maguire as the weak link in England’s XI.

The two nations will go head-to-head in a Euro 2020 qualifying match at Wembley on Friday in what will be a first competitive meeting between the pair.

Why is Maguire considered the weak link? Five key things to know…

  1. England and the Czech Republic will lock horns in a Euro 2020 qualifying match on Friday night.
  2. Maguire was sent off after four minutes in Leicester’s 2-1 win over Burnley on Saturday.
  3. Vydra, who came off the bench at Turf Moor, has now revealed the Clarets targeted Maguire before the match.
  4. He believes Maguire “doesn’t know what’s happening behind him” which makes him easy to exploit.
  5. The 26-year-old also praised England’s attack but has questioned the nation’s defensive capabilities.

Vydra has highlighted the threat of England’s attack but believes his nation can get the better of the Three Lions if they put pressure on Maguire.

The mountainous centre-back was shown a straight red in the Foxes 2-1 win over Burnley in the Premier League on Saturday, which Vydra believes was a direct result of his side’s premeditated attack on the defender.

“[Harry] Kane is top, [Marcus] Rashford as well, [Raheem] Sterling is in a great form. The attack is very strong,” Vydra said.

“Defence, I don’t say it’s not strong as well, but it’s not as strong as the attack.

“For example, Maguire. We talked about him at Burnley before we played against Leicester. In some moments it seems he doesn’t know what’s happening behind him, that’s why he got a red card after five minutes in the match against Burnley.”

England have suffered a number of injury setbacks ahead of the match, with John Stones, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Rashford out.

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Vydra hoping for bragging rights over teammates

Vydra could potentially come up against two of his Burnley teammates on Friday night with both centre-back James Tarkowski and goalkeeper Tom Heaton in the England squad.

His comments about the defensive frailties of England are unlikely to go down well with Tarkowski nor Heaton when he returns to Burnley training after the international break.

However, Vydra is hoping a famous Czech Republic victory can help sooth the criticism, while also giving him the ultimate bragging rights in Lancashire.

He said: “We talked about the game and I hope we’ll get a good result. If so, I can taunt them for a long time!”

After taking on the Czech Republic, Gareth Southgate and his squad will travel to the Podgorica City Stadium to lock horns with Montenegro in the second of their two Euro 2020 qualifying matches this international break.