Harry Maguire and Yorkshire’s ‘really hard’ men at the heart of England’s quest for World Cup glory

Harry Maguire says Yorkshire's huge influence on the England squad has been 'surreal'
Harry Maguire says Yorkshire's huge influence on the England squad has been 'surreal'
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Sheffield’s Harry Maguire believe’s England’s strong defensive displays have come down to one thing ... true Yorkshire grit.

The Three Lions’ back three for most of the tournament has contained two from the Steel City in Maguire and Kyle Walker, alongside Barnsley-born John Stones.

England's Kyle Walker and John Stones (right) celebrate victory over Sweden

England's Kyle Walker and John Stones (right) celebrate victory over Sweden

Doncaster’s Danny Rose is also in the squad, as is Gary Cahill from just outside of Sheffield.

Jamie Vardy makes up the six from South Yorkshire and there has been a lot of talk nationally about the county’s impact during this World Cup, with Fabian Delph from Leeds also in the 23-man line-up.

“There’s so many from Yorkshire, it’s quite surreal,” Maguire told BBC Sport ahead of Wednesday’s World Cup semi-final against Croatia.

“If you look at the squad, most of them are defenders, so it says something about Yorkshire.”

Harry Maguire celebrates his goal for England against Sweden

Harry Maguire celebrates his goal for England against Sweden

What does it say?

“We’re not the most talented but we’re really hard,” he somewhat modestly replied.

It’s just around England that Maguire in particular has been earning plaudits.

Former Germany midfielder Michael Ballack has been lavishing praise on the 25 year-old and boss Gareth Southgate for his bravery in picking the former Sheffield United defender.

“I have to give a special mention to Harry Maguire,” said Ballack, a World Cup runner-up with Germany in 2002. “His excellent performances are another example of Gareth Southgate’s positive coaching. He could have gone with the safe option of Gary Cahill’s experience in that position but he chose Maguire and has been rewarded for it.”

Meanwhile, it’s not just on the pitch that our boys have been showing a positive nature.

Kyle Walker has offered to give shirts to the rescued youth football team which were trapped in a cave for more than two weeks in Thailand.

The England defender tweeted: “Amazing news that all of the Thai kids are out of the cave safely!

“I’d like to send out shirts to them! Is there anyone who can help with an address?”