Gareth Southgate leapt to the defence of Harry Maguire after his every pass was sarcastically mocked against Scotland with the England manager calling it a “joke” and added his treatment was “ridiculous”.
Maguire, who started on the bench for England in their 3-1 win over Scotland, was brought on at half-time owing to an injury to Marc Guehi and was subjected to ironic cheers from the Scottish fans for every pass he made. The England defender went on to score an own-goal in his team’s otherwise impressive victory.
It was a similar situation to the one he faced in Manchester United’s clash with Arsenal where his arrival on the pitch was roundly cheered by Arsenal fans.
Southgate didn’t hold back when asked for his assessment of the somewhat brutal treatment of the Manchester United man.
He said: “From a Scotland’s fans point of view, I get it. I’ve no complaints with what they did. It’s a consequence of ridiculous treatment of him for a long period of time.
“Our fans recognised that there might be a bit of heat from our own supporters but we’re not having it from others getting into him. It’s a joke. I’ve never known a player treated the way he is, not just by Scottish fans, but by commentators, pundits, whatever, they’ve created something beyond anything I’ve ever seen. He’s been a stalwart for us, part of the most successful England team for decades.
“He’s been a key part of that. I’ve spoken about the importance of the senior players, he is crucial to that. Every time he goes on the field, the resilience and balls he shows is absolutely incredible. He’s a top player. We’re all with him. I feel very strongly about it.
“He’s good, he’s great. He’s been a big part of that win. He’s spoken with the media as that’s the sort of lad he is. He’s fronted up as he always does.”
More to follow…