England manager Gareth Southgate came out in strong defence of Harry Maguire following the Three Lions’ 3-1 win against Scotland at Hampden Park on Tuesday night.
Highlighting the treatment of the Manchester United and England centre-back in the media and from fans, Southgate labelled it an “absolute joke”. After being introduced as a half-time substitute, Scotland fans proceeded to jeer every pass Maguire made – which only intensified when he scored an own-goal in the 67th minute.
Sotuhgate, though, leapt to defend Maguire in the immediate aftermath of the match. With him in the centre of defence England have reached a Euros final, a World Cup semi-final and a quarter-final, too.
Southgate has defended Maguire (Image credit: Getty Images)
“We’re now in a situation where, because of people in our own country, the opposition think they can have fun with him,” Southgate told Sky Sports News. “What’s that about?
“He’s been an incredible player for England in one of the most successful teams we’ve had – critical for what we’ve been doing. We allow him to be open to that? It’s a joke; an absolute joke. It makes me livid.
“Thankfully he’s got the support of the dressing room and the people behind him. I thought the England fans in the stadium tonight were absolutely brilliant. I’ve no problem with the Scotland fans – they’re having fun. But what stirs that up is people in our own country. Other players will think: ‘Is that what awaits us?’
VIDEO: Why Gareth Southgate’s England don’t look very good
“Great credit to him that he managed to show the composure with the ball, keep the ball and put that moment behind him.”
Maguire has come under intense scrutiny in recent weeks and months, after falling out of first team favour under Erik ten Hag at Manchester United. Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane have both been preferred as partners, with Victor Lindelof and even Luke Shaw at times ahead of him in the pecking order.
This has caused many to question Southgate’s continued faith and selection of Maguire in the England squad, though his latest comments suggest that his national team manager will stick with him through this difficult period.
Maguire has fallen out of favour at Manchester United (Image credit: Getty Images)
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