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Harry Maguire’s unconventional sporting education reveals how he has taken the World Cup by storm

The England centre-back has taken to the world stage like a duck to water

Harry Maguire is so much more than a giant head on even bigger shoulders.

The England centre-back has become a cult figure for his ability to head every ball coming into England’s box.

But looking at his unconventional sporting education reveals how he has become a World Cup star out of relative anonymity so quickly.

Would not fancy challenging him in the air

Getty - Contributor
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Would not fancy challenging him in the air

Against Sweden Maguire put in one of the tournaments most dominant displays against a team renowned for their height and physicality.

He was the best player on the park, putting his head in everywhere.

He scored England’s opener with a thumping connection from a corner and then looked like a giant every time Sweden launched a high ball at England’s backline.

It was glorious.


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Look at the size of his head

Getty - Contributor
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Look at the size of his head

But as The Times journalist Henry Winter revealed on Twitter yesterday, it is Maguire’s early sporting career that shaped the player we see today.

Alongside his healthy diet of bricks for breakfast and cement powder for dinner, Maguire continued to play rugby, hockey and cross country running through school.

Where most other aspiring footballers drop other sports to focus on making it, Maguire credits the skills he learnt in other formats that make him the player we see today.

The thought of Maguire running full speed towards you, rugby ball under one arm, head down like a charging bull is enough to send shivers running down anyone’s back.

But the skills the Leicester man developed playing rugby are clearly far more nuanced.

The idea of stepping between players, which Maguire excels at both defensively and in attack, is honed in rugby but has been perfectly executed at the World Cup.

Classic rugby technique

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Classic rugby technique

Field hockey is another area which has set Maguire up to be a pro footballer.

In a similar setup to the football pitch, long passes to get up the field followed by short intricate passing in the final third, it’s clear that Maguire’s passing is influenced from the game.

Throw in the fact that he has iron lungs as a cross country runner and you can see that Maguire is a supreme athlete.

This is what an athlete looks like

PA:Press Association
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This is what an athlete looks like

His head might get all the attention, but he’s fast, strong, agile and is intelligent.

And he might be able to add World Cup winner to that list very soon.

Don’t be surprised if we’re talking about Harry Maguire the 2018 Golden Ball winner too.