Maguire is England's weak link, says Czech striker

Reuters , Thursday 21 Mar 2019

Harry Maguire  and Jadon Sancho
England's defender Harry Maguire (L) and England's midfielder Jadon Sancho attends an England team training session at St George's Park in Burton-on-Trent, central England on March 19, 2019, ahead of their UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying football matches against the Czech Republic and Montenegro. AFP

The Czech Republic are hoping to exploit a perceived weakness in England's defence by targeting centre back Harry Maguire during their Euro 2020 qualifier on Friday, striker Matej Vydra has said.

Vydra, who also plays for Burnley, said his club had employed a similar strategy when they faced Maguire's Leicester City team in the Premier League this season and the approach paid dividends with the defender being sent off early on.

"(England's) attack is very strong. Defence, I don't say it's not strong as well, but it's not as strong as the attack," Vydra told reporters.

"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."

With England missing Manchester City centre back John Stones due to injury, Maguire is set to be joined by either Everton's Michael Keane or Vydra's Burnley team mate James Tarkowski in central defence.

Vydra said the Czechs planned to disrupt England's passing game by snapping into tackles and denying their opponents time on the ball.

"(England) like to hold the ball so we have to be close to them," he added. "Don't be afraid to kick them three or four times — then they may change the plan and play one or two touches."

England play the Czech Republic at Wembley before travelling to take on Montenegro on Monday.

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