France legend Emmanuel Petit has named Jude Bellingham, Harry Maguire and Bukayo Saka as the three England players who impressed him at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
The Three Lions made the quarterfinals before being eliminated 2-1 by France. Bellingham, Maguire and Saka played key roles for Gareth Southgate’s side in the competition.
Lavishing praise on the trio, Petit told Mega Casino that he was impressed by Bellingham, 19, and Maguire, 29:
“Of course. Bellingham, for sure. I really like Harry Maguire’s performances. I thought he had a really good tournament.”
Petit then touched on Saka as a player and his personality, explaining how he is in love with the 22-year-old Arsenal winger:
“I really like Saka. In fact, I’m in love with Saka! As a player and a person, he is so sweet, and he is improving so much.”
Everyone just loves Bukayo Saka.
“The future looks bright. I think English fans should be confident in Southgate because the team is not far away from getting what they deserve,” Petit concluded.
Bellingham was one of the most sought-after teenagers in world football heading into the FIFA World Cup and dazzled in Qatar. The Borussia Dortmund midfielder made five appearances, scoring one goal and providing an assist.
Meanwhile, Maguire silenced his critics with brilliant performances at the back for Southgate’s side. He made five appearances, contributing an assist and helping the Three Lions keep three clean sheets. Saka also lit up the World Cup and finished joint-fifth in the Golden Boot race with three goals in four games.
Petit defends England’s Maguire amid criticism from UK pundits
Petit was defensive of Maguire following what has been a troubling time for the defender at Manchester United. He has fallen down the pecking order at Old Trafford, making nine appearances across competitions but only five in the starting lineup.
Last night hurt. Absolutely gutted. Special thanks to Gareth and you amazing fans who kept belief in me. I love my country and I hope we made you proud. 🏴🦁
Maguire’s inclusion in England’s 26-man squad drew criticism, but he showed why Southgate continues to select him for international duty. Petit defended the United captain, saying:
“The criticism of Harry Maguire went way too far. Some of the pundits in England need to take a look themselves for the way they treated Maguire. They talk too much.”
Speculation grows over Maguire’s future at United as he plays second fiddle to Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez. Petit suggests that Maguire’s departure from the Red Devils could happen in the near future, saying:
“I’m not sure if Maguire will stay at Manchester United because it is a different story for him there now with ten Hag as a manager. Maybe he will leave on loan?”
The England captain has made over 150 appearances across competitions for United since arriving in the summer of 2019.
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