SHEFFIELD UNITED: Lane’s young cub so worthy of call to Three Lions

Consistent displays: Harry Maguire is already a key figure for United
Consistent displays: Harry Maguire is already a key figure for United

CHARACTER and consistency are responsible for propelling Harry Maguire, Sheffield United’s teenage centre-half, into England under-21 contention, his former academy coach has told The Star.

Maguire has been named in the squad which faces Northern Ireland tonight only 19 months after making his senior debut for the South Yorkshire club.

Ron Reid, who led United’s operations at Shirecliffe before accepting a position with Ferencvaros in 2009, said: “For me, Harry is perhaps the most consistent young player I’ve ever come across.

“He delivers a constant level of performance week in week out and that is very, very rare in someone of his age.

“Normally they are up and down at that stage of their careers. But Harry is the exact opposite.

“United’s defensive record this season is excellent and, make no mistake, he has been a big part of that.”

Predicting United’s 19-year-old goalkeeper George Long is destined to follow in his team mate’s footsteps, Reid added: “I always used to say that when you looked at young footballers you had to think ‘who would I want in the trenches with me?’

“Harry and George certainly fall into that category because of their attitude and character. You know exactly what you are going to get from them and temperament is so important.”

Stuart Pearce, England’s U-21 coach, acknowledged this evening’s challenge match represents an opportunity for players to force themselves into contention for places at the 2013 European Championships. Pearce’s team progressed to the finals in Israel by overcoming the likes of Serbia, Norway, Belgium and Azerbaijan.

Maguire joins several new faces, including Nathaniel Chalobah and Will Hughes, in the squad which entertains Steve Robinson’s side at Bloomfield Road, Blackpool.

Reid added: “I’m delighted for Harry and I’m delighted for his family because you couldn’t wish to meet parents who are more supportive. This will also do wonders for his self-confidence given the company he’ll be keeping on merit.”