English national team manager Gareth Southgate has spoken out against what he calls “ridiculous treatment” of defender Harry Maguire.
Despite England’s 3-1 victory at Hampden Park in Glasgow on Tuesday, the home crowd jeered the 30-year-old the whole game. In what has already become a habit, the Manchester United defender had another rough night.
Gareth Southgate did not include the player in his starting lineup for the heated derby. Regardless, Maguire made headlines. England had a two-goal lead in the first half due to scores from Phil Foden and Jude Bellingham.
Maguire replaced Marc Guehi at center-back at halftime. He paired up with Brighton defender Lewis Dunk. The former Red Devils captain, who was among the most seasoned players on the field, scored an own goal to give some hope to the away side.
Calls were made for Southgate to bench Harry Maguire
Maguire‘s rustiness was on display when he turned Andy Robertson’s cross into an own goal. That highlights the issues he is experiencing at club level. There, he has not started a game this season.
The gaffe cast even more doubt on the United outcast status as an England starter. The paucity of playing time Maguire has received at Old Trafford has led to demands for Southgate to bench him. The central defender dropped in the pecking order. For example, Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez now sit in pole position to start at center-back when fit. Moreover, United boss Erik ten Hag deprived Maguire of the captain’s armband.
While praising the 30-year-old’s perseverance, Southgate’s wrath was evident as he claimed the conversation around him had descended into farce. The Three Lions manager scorned Maguire’s treatment in the media. Southgate pointed the blame at “our own commentators” rather than the Scottish supporters for their insulting applause.
What did Southgate say?
“From a Scotland fan’s point of view, I get it and I have absolutely no complaints, but it is a consequence of ridiculous treatment of him for a long period of time, frankly,” he said, quoted by BBC.
“I think our fans recognized that ‘OK there might be a bit of heat from our supporters, but we’re not going to have others getting into him’. But it is a joke. I have never known a player to be treated the way he is – not from the Scottish fans but by our own commentators, pundits, whatever it is.
“They have created something that is beyond anything I have ever seen. He has been an absolute stalwart for us in the second most successful England team in decades and he’s been a key part of that.
“I’ve talked about the importance of our senior players and every time he goes on the field the resilience he shows, the balls he shows is absolutely incredible. He’s a top player and we’re all with him and our fans were incredible with him tonight.”
PHOTO: IMAGO / LaPresse
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