England v Panama: Maguire - Discipline will be key for England

Get in there: Harry Maguire celebrates his contribution in helping England claim victory in their World Cup opener with Tunisia. (Picture: Getty Images
Get in there: Harry Maguire celebrates his contribution in helping England claim victory in their World Cup opener with Tunisia. (Picture: Getty Images
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Harry Maguire has urged England to keep their composure regardless of any provocations from Panama when the sides go head to head tomorrow.

The Central Americans are known as a physically robust side and left Belgium manager Roberto Martinez unhappy about a number of full-blooded tackles when the Group G rivals met on Monday.

Ready for Panama: John Stones in action against Tunisia. Picture: Alex Morton/Getty Images

Ready for Panama: John Stones in action against Tunisia. Picture: Alex Morton/Getty Images

England are already preparing for a similar examination and have been cautioned by the coaching staff not to let tempers flare and risk a red card in Nizhny Novgorod.

Leicester defender Maguire is highly unlikely to be intimidated – standing 6ft 4ins, weighing in at more than 15 stone and a veteran of countless tussles during his time with Sheffield United in League One – but he has stressed the importance of staying focused.

“Discipline is going to be a big part of the game on Sunday,” said the former Hull City defender. “They might want to frustrate us or make people angry, but we’ve got to keep our cool and keep calm.

“If they are continuously fouling us, we can’t react in a bad way. Hopefully it’s going to be a good game and we can impose our attacking threat on them as well as the physical side, try to get the ball down on the deck and create chances that way.

“(But) I’m a big lad myself, so I feel I can handle myself in a battle.”

If any England players need a lesson in how to stay in control of their emotions they need only look to captain Harry Kane.

He was repeatedly manhandled in the penalty area against Tunisia, reacting with admirable restraint and earning his just rewards by scoring a match-winning brace on Monday night.

“Harry was the perfect example. At every corner he seemed to be getting grabbed and wrestled, but he’s got away from his man twice, stuck two in the back of the net and won us the game,” Maguire said.

“If we can all react like that it would be a perfect scenario.”

Maguire was the only member of the Three Lions’ starting XI in Volgograd who did not play European football last season – a fact that earned him a commendation from Southgate for his mature performance on the biggest stage of his career.

His early years with the Blades may not have offered him the creature comforts of the elite academy scene, but they did reinforce the 25-year-old with a strong backbone. “I’ve had a broken nose and a few black eyes – it’s part and parcel of the game, really,” he said.

“In League One you get a lot more aerial battles and the ball is in the air a lot more than on the ground, especially in the winter with the state of the pitches.

“I’ve probably played at every ground in the country… tight, old-fashioned stadiums where the crowd are really on top of you.

“The long journeys are the ones you don’t look forward to. If it was Carlisle or something we’d be looking to leave at maybe 8am, depending on kick-off time.

“They’re long journeys back, but they’re only good if you come home with three points.”

Meanwhile, Southgate says Dele Alli is “unlikely” to feature against Panama.

The 22-year-old played 80 minutes of Monday’s 2-1 win against Tunisia, despite sustaining a minor thigh strain during the first half. Alli again missed training with the England squad yesterday and Southgate believes the attacking midfielder will probably miss tomorrow’s match as well

Asked if he told the players the team to face Panama yet, the Three Lions boss said: “Not yet, no.

“I mean I think always from the type of training that we do they have a good idea and clearly we had a team that played very well and won.

“So, we’re not going to be wildly different to that.

“We have to wait and see whether Dele is going to be fit.

“It’s looking unlikely because he has not trained with the team yet.

“But he’s progressing really well, so we won’t rule that out just yet.”