Former Juventus and Italy star Giorgio Chiellini says he feels “sad” for Harry Maguire after the criticism he has faced over the last 12 months.
A series of mistakes and poor performances from Maguire has seen him come under scrutiny from fans and he was dropped from Erik ten Hag’s side after Manchester United’s 4-0 defeat to Brentford.
Cristiano Ronaldo, along with Raphael Varane and Paul Pogba, reportedly said “Maguire is part of the problem” in February.
“I am sad for Maguire’s situation because he is a good player,” Chiellini told The Times.
“They require too much of him. Just because they paid £80 million for him, he has to be the best in the world every match? It’s not right.
“The value of the market is dependent on many aspects you can’t control. It’s not your fault.”
Maguire has been picked for England’s upcoming Nations League games against Italy and Germany, which take place on Friday and next Monday.
Should the 29-year-old struggle to find form, he may not feature at the Qatar World Cup, which takes place from November 20 to December 18.
Chiellini believes Maguire, plus John Stones, showed they had a good partnership at Euro 2020 last year when England lost to Italy in the final on penalties.
“Him and [John] Stones are a good duo,” continued Chiellini. “OK, Maguire maybe is not Rio Ferdinand but he’s good enough.
“With this situation it’s not helping [England] to do the best. If you want to win the World Cup, it’s impossible to do it with some problems in the key players, and for sure Maguire is one of the key players in the team.”
Fikayo Tomori has emerged as a contender to potentially replace Maguire at centre-back for England after helping AC Milan win the Serie A title last season.
Chiellini, who is currently playing for Los Angeles FC in the MLS, says “he was one of the keys” to Milan’s triumph.
“He surprised me because I saw him in Chelsea and I didn’t think he could be so strong in the box [or] attentive for 90 minutes,” added Chiellini. (Eurosport)