Analysing the Three Lions’ 6-2 World Cup opening victory over Iran for The Coaches’ Voice, former England Under 20 international Jackson praised Maguire, along with Jude Bellingham and Bukayo Saka for their individual performances. In the case of Maguire, Jackson felt the display was repayment for the support he has received from his national team boss Southgate, who kept faith in the centre-back even though he is no longer a mainstay of the Red Devils defence.
“What pleased me is that Gareth Southgate has backed him all the time,” said Jackson. “He spoke about that publicly and there’s no hiding the fact that club form has not been good but the manager has shown tremendous trust in a player there and no doubt behind the scenes he’ll have spoken to Harry and said ‘listen, I’m backing you and I’m going to stick by you.’ For me, that was great to see, and I thought he repaid that with a really, really solid performance.”
Nineteen-year-old Bellingham earned plaudits back home for an impressive showing on his World Cup debut that was marked by a fine headed goal. What delighted Jackson was the work the midfielder did out of possession, because it chimed with what Leeds are trying to do under Jesse Marsch.
“With the ball I thought he was fantastic and without the ball I thought he was immense as well,” said Jackson.
“I thought the team counter pressed as well really effectively and he in particular put himself in positions to win the ball back quickly. I thought it was an outstanding performance from such a young player. That [counterpressing] catches my eye with the kind of system I play at the moment with Leeds. Jessie has brought that into the team a lot, so that kind of catches my eye on certain elements when I analyse games, and I see the ability to counter press quickly.”
In possession Jackson was pleased to see England recognising when to use longer passes to the front line, which led to Marcus Rashford’s goal, and he also picked out Saka’s bravery in repeatedly going at defenders.
“One thing that stood out for me was how he’s always fearless in the final third, he was wanting to play direct, he wanted to get the ball, he wanted to make things happen and that’s what you want from an attacking player,” he said.
“You want someone who is not afraid of making mistakes because that’s the most important thing, to be creative is one of the hardest things to do in football. You have to accept that not every time you’re going to be successful, so for him to have that instinct to to keep going and be direct really stood out for me.”
Jackson was speaking as part of a Twitter Spaces event hosted by The Coaches Voice