Video LoadingVideo UnavailableClick to playTap to playThe video will auto-play soon8CancelPlay now
Is it coming home? Sign up to our England Euro 2020 email updates to find out!
Invalid EmailSomething went wrong, please try again later.Sign UpWhen you subscribe we will use the information you provide to send you these newsletters. Your information will be used in accordance with ourPrivacy Notice.Thank you for subscribingWe have more newslettersShow meSee ourprivacy notice
If England go on to win the European Championships, there is a good chance it will be a triumph made in Manchester.
Or at least built on Manchester foundations, red and blue, United and City.
They have played alongside each other in only the last two of England’s four Euro 2020 matches but Harry Maguire, 28, and John Stones, 27, have already demonstrated how they are key to the national team’s fortunes.
Each have had their issues over the past couple of years and neither is, in footballing terms, in the first flush of youth.
But this is a pairing that could yet develop into one of the great central defensive combinations in modern English football.
Over the course of their International careers, they have played together twenty times.
John Stones and Harry Maguire have performed well together for England
(Image: Getty Images)
And on average, England concede one goal in every two hours and ten minutes Maguire and Stones are on the pitch.
Whether they are in a back three or four, they present a formidable barrier.
They were two of Gareth Southgate’s go-to defenders at Russia 2018 and they are clearly amongst the first names on his Euro 2020 team sheet now that Maguire has recovered from his ankle problem.
And the Manchester United captain believes their understanding on the field is fostered by a connection away from it.
Maguire explains: “Relationships on the field can also be taken on to the field. With me and John, he does not mind telling me things that I could do better or if I have done something wrong. And I don’t mind telling him.
“It’s about making sure we are both mentally ready and focused throughout the game.”
And Maguire thinks their styles blend perfectly on the park.
He says: “The way we are both comfortable on the ball helps each other and if you are calm and composed, it feeds through to the rest of the team.
Will England with this summer's Euros? Comment below
“I think that is a big part of being a centre-back. You have got to bring calm and composure and a real feel of authority and safety to the rest of the team.”
“John’s had an exceptional tournament up to now. He’s been brilliant in every game he has played and he has had a great season as well.”
Maguire will face Ukraine with the threat of missing the semi-final – should England win in Rome – if he collects another yellow card.
But that thought will be wiped from his mind when he steps out into the Stadio Olimpico.
He says: “I'll be going into the game playing my normal game. It's not very often you play in a major tournament quarter-final so for me to look beyond that would be silly. I will be playing my normal game because in a quarterfinal of a major tournament my objective is to win that football match.
England stars fly out to Rome ahead of Euro 2020 quarter-final clash with Ukraine
Alan Shearer believes momentum can carry England all the way in Euro 2020
“Physically I feel good and, mentally I feel ready.”
And mentality, Maguire feels, will be key to England going all the way in this tournament.
He says: “We can’t be worrying about bad scenarios but that would be when the leaders would have to stand up.
“But we want to play aggressively, play on the front foot, we don’t want to play with worry or fear. That’s a big thing for us as a group.
“We want to play fearless football and go out there and really express ourselves.”