Former England international Michael Brown believes Harry Maguire and Kalvin Phillips deserve their call-ups to the national team regardless of their club woes.
Both players were included in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for September games against Ukraine and rivals Scotland despite struggling for minutes in their respective clubs.
Harry Maguire lost his starting berth in the Manchester United squad last season, and the new campaign has not brought better fortunes for the former Leicester City man.
The 30-year-old was an unused substitute in Man United’s opening two Premier League games against Wolverhampton Wanderers and Nottingham Forest.
He started the 3-1 defeat to Arsenal from the bench before being handed a 23-minute cameo after replacing the injured Lisandro Martinez and subsequently conceded two late goals.
Meanwhile, Phillips started in just four of his 21 appearances across all competitions last term and has kicked off the new campaign in a similar fashion, with only six minutes of Premier League action under his belt.
Despite their challenges, Southgate favoured the pair over some other notable candidates in his 26-man squad, and Brown believes the manager was spot on with his selection.
“We’ve got to be careful as well for these players getting too much criticism,” Brown told BBC.
“I think we’re not giving them the respect that they deserve. I think they’ve been top players.
“They’ve really – under difficult situations – I think they’ve handled themselves very, very well.
“And I think they deserve their England call-ups for what they’ve done, obviously, for the country and how they’ve played.
“It’s a shame and hopefully they can get more minutes club-side, but these are the questions that are being asked.
“But I think it’s a no-brainer for [Gareth] Southgate.”
England will resume their quest to secure qualification for the 2024 European Championship tournament when they take on familiar foes Ukraine at the weekend.
Maguire could be handed a starting berth as he remains one of Southgate’s most trusted defenders, but Phillips is expected to be warming the bench with Declan Rice anchoring the midfield.
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