Harry Maguire admits having fans back is almost as good as being back in the game himself.
Maguire has endured a miserable seven weeks battling to overcome a serious ankle problem that threatened to ruin his Euros dream with England.
During this time supporters have flocked back to matches due to the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions around the nation.
And Maguire admits it's a big relief to hear some noise inside stadiums again – to drown out the sounds of him swearing and rowing with team-mates and rivals.
The last time Maguire played in front of a crowd was 48-hours before Christmas in an EFL Cup tie at Everton, when 2,000 were allowed into Goodison Park.
The defensive rock hasn't witnessed a full stadium since before the pandemic, but he's glad life is returning to normal again.
He said: "I'm happy fans are back in the stadium, so you can't hear a lot of my arguments with the players. My brother will text me after saying, 'did you have an argument with (Marcus) Rashford in that game?'
"It's the demands probably I put on myself, but I put on other players as well. I demand a lot from the players, I demand a lot from Luke (Shaw), for example. I drive him forward all the time.
Are you as relieved as Harry Maguire to have fans back in stadiums? Let us know in the comments section below.
"I want the best from him, and you've seen this year how important he's been at club level, and how much he's improved. That's one big part of the England team, we've got a lot of loud players, and I think that's only a good thing really.
"We've got Conor (Coady), Tyrone (Mings), Jordan (Henderson) and Harry (Kane) as well, numerous players I could go through. I think that's a really big thing.
"Without the fans as well, now we've got fans people probably can't hear you as much, and yeah, it's probably something I've developed over my career, the experience, me talking hopefully tells others, but also keeps me focused and concentrated."
Maguire's leadership is the main reason Gareth Southgate decided to keep faith with his crocked ace – and the Manchester United captain believes he's now part of a Three Lions camp full of strong voices.
He said: "I think the big thing about this squad at the moment is that we have a lot of young, exciting, talented players, but we also have a lot of experienced players, a lot of club captains which is so important in tournament football.
"Passing on your experience to the younger lads in the ways you handle yourself around the camp and on the training pitch. And give them real confidence to go on and express themselves.
"I think it is not just myself. There are a lot of good leaders in this squad, good captains and i think that is a real benefit of this squad compared to a few years ago when there wasn't as many vocal players in there."
Maguire was just an excited fan the last time the Euros took place and travelled to France with his pals to cheer on the Three Lions.
Now he's in the thick of the action himself and he added: "I think it's such a proud moment to play for your country. While you're in the moment you probably don't realise how big the moment is.
Don't miss a thing with our football updates!
Want to be on the ball with all of the latest football news?
Well then sign up for the brilliant Daily Star football email newsletter!
From the latest transfer news to the agenda-setting stories, get it all in your email inbox – don't miss a thing.
How do you sign up?
It only takes a matter of seconds.
Simply type your email address into the box at the top of this article and hit 'subscribe'.
And that's it, job done. You'll receive an email with all of the top news stories every single morning.
You can find out more information on our email newsletter on this link here.
"When you stop playing you'll probably look and think 'yeah', but, at the moment, you're just in the moment to put yourself in with the best chance to go and win football matches.
"Like you say, with the family and friends, I'm sure they tell me all the time how proud they are, and how good the days have been in following England at home and away.
"They go to the majority of matches, they were all there in the stands against Croatia. They're having a great time, they had a great time in Russia. But like I say, it's only a great time when you're winning football matches, and then when you lose there's disappointment and hurt. That's football, it's highs and lows, and my family and friends ride it with me."
Source: Read Full Article