Soccer

Harry Maguire cannot wait for Euro 2028 and is ‘hopeful’ to be in the squad

England defender Harry Maguire (Simon Marper, PA)
England defender Harry Maguire (Simon Marper, PA) England defender Harry Maguire (Simon Marper, PA)

Whether he is still playing for England or enjoying a few pints and watching from the stands, Harry Maguire cannot wait for the European Championship to return to home soil in 2028.

UEFA confirmed on Tuesday that the UK and Ireland’s bid to host the tournament had been approved, having gone into decision day unopposed following the withdrawal of Turkey.

Six of the 10 venues at the five-nation event will be in England, just seven years on from Glasgow and London hosting matches at the pan-European edition.

Gareth Southgate’s men went all the way to the Wembley final at rearranged Euro 2020 and defender Maguire cannot wait to experience another special summer in 2028.

“Hopefully, I will be in the squad but, either way, I am sure I will be at the tournament,” the 30-year-old said.

“I’ll either be in the stands with my mates having a few pints or in the squad, helping the lads. For sure, I’ll be supporting or playing, either way.

“I’m a big fan of England and to have a tournament in this country… you know how the recent tournaments have gone in this country, it brings the country united. There’s a real buzz around the place.

“I experienced playing in the final at Wembley against Italy, which was disappointing in the end, but it is a special place to be involved in when the team is playing well in our country.”

Maguire went to Euro 2016 as a fan before breaking into the international set-up, going onto play a key role for Southgate’s team at three major tournaments.

England can qualify for next year’s Euros over the coming week and intend to go through qualification process in 2028, when UEFA is understood to be reserving two host nation places for any team which does not make it on merit.

England Training Session and Media Day – St. George’s Park – Tuesday 10th October
England Training Session and Media Day – St. George’s Park – Tuesday 10th October England’s James Maddison and Harry Maguire during a training session at St. George’s Park, Burton upon Trent (Simon Marper, PA)

“Qualifying for a major tournament is tough but also you have to look at it from a positive side,” 59-cap Maguire said ahead of the friendly against Australia and Euro 2024 qualifier at home to Italy.

“If we don’t qualify for the major tournament, then we are not really there or ready to compete to win the tournament.

“This nation now has been successful now for a 10-year period so we now need to start looking at winning these tournaments.

“If we can’t get out of the qualifying group, we don’t deserve to be there.

“It would be a nightmare scenario but on the other hand we have to play with great belief and confidence that we can get out of the group and qualify.

“That’s what we will be looking to do. My eyes are not on ‘28 yet.

“We’ve got a big Euros coming up next summer and one that we’re looking forward to.”