Harry Maguire: England player says Jamie Vardy made him 'a better defender'

Harry Maguire and Jamie Vardy
Harry Maguire and Jamie Vardy helped Leicester reach the quarter-finals of the FA Cup
International friendly: Netherlands v England
Venue: Amsterdam Arena, Amsterdam. Date: Friday, 23 March. Time: 19:45 GMT.
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live, online, tablets, mobiles and BBC Sport app. Live text commentary on the BBC Sport website.

Leicester City centre-back Harry Maguire says playing alongside Jamie Vardy has made him "a better defender".

Maguire played against Vardy while at Hull City, before signing for the Foxes last summer in a £17m deal.

The 25-year-old and striker Vardy are both in Gareth Southgate's England squad for the forthcoming friendlies against the Netherlands and Italy.

"It's been the best season of my career," said Maguire, who made his senior international debut in October.

"Vardy's been really good for us at Leicester and long may it continue.

"The better the players you play with and against, it does improve you."

Vardy, 31, has scored 14 goals in 29 Premier League appearances for Leicester this season and Claude Puel's side are eighth with eight games remaining.

"The experience of coming across someone like Jamie day in day out does make me a better player," Maguire said.

"It helps me to read situations better."

'A dream come true'

Harry Maguire
Maguire made his England debut last October

Maguire made his England debut in a 1-0 win in Lithuania, which ensured the Three Lions ended their World Cup qualification campaign unbeaten.

He turned up for international duty with his kit in black bin bags.

Maguire, who started his career at Sheffield United, has made 30 Premier League appearances for Leicester this season - scoring twice.

"To get the call-up for England is a dream come true, and I think that's because it's been the best season of my career," he said.

Maguire added the experience of playing in the English top-flight had helped him become the player he is today.

"You pick up little bits and bobs each day in training, and I think playing against the top players in the Premier League helps," he said.

"Experience is a big thing when playing in the Premier League - it's a different game to any other league."

The perfect role model

Gareth Southgate
England manager Gareth Southgate watches his players train before Friday's friendly against the Netherlands

Southgate, who played primarily at centre-back, won 57 caps for England, playing at the 1998 World Cup and two European Championships.

The 47-year-old became England manager in November 2016, and Maguire says Southgate knows exactly what he wants from his defenders.

"Gareth wants us to defend and keep clean sheets," he said. "He also wants us to play out from the back and join in with attacks.

"He played in that position all the way through his career. There's no-one better for myself and the others in my position to be coached by."

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