Repino (Russia) (AFP) – England defender Harry Maguire insists he will do everything possible to bring some cheer to long-suffering fans having experienced the frustrations of following the Three Lions from the stands at Euro 2016.
Maguire travelled with a group of friends and family to watch a 0-0 stalemate with Slovakia in St. Etienne in France two years ago when playing for Hull in the Championship.
“It’s a trip that costs a lot of money and it’s good to know I’ve experienced that because I’ve seen the passion that the fans show and what it means to everyone,” said Maguire before England landed in their World Cup base in Repino, just outside St Petersburg on Tuesday.
“All I can say is we are going to go there and try to be a success.”
His presence then was barely noticed by the England faithful. But after starring for Hull in his debut Premier League season in 2016/17, a £17 million ($23 million) move to Leicester last summer provided the platform to force his way into the national team.
“I had a few days spare in the summer so I thought there is nothing better than to go out there and see the atmosphere.”
“It was a great few days to be honest. To see the atmosphere, to see the passion of the fans. It was a great experience and one that I’d definitely do again.”
Maguire admitted to sharing the bitter disappointment England supporters felt at a humiliating last 16 exit to Iceland two years ago.
Now, though, he is making a difference on the field as part of one of the youngest squads on show in Russia with most of Gareth Southgate’s side untarnished by the failures of previous major international tournaments.
Since making his international debut in October, Maguire has become a regular in the England side as Southgate has been impressed by his ability to carry the ball out of defence confidently.
In his five caps, England haven’t even conceded a goal despite facing some strong opposition in friendlies against Germany, Brazil and the Netherlands.
“You see it from a different side being involved,” he added.
“I went to one (game), I was watching games round at peoples’ houses. I still am a fan, if I wasn’t selected to be in the squad I would be watching it on TV and still getting nervous for games.
“I’m passionate about England I have always been growing up and now I’m looking forward to the tournament.”