ENGLAND boss Gareth Southgate slammed the criticism leveled at Harry Maguire tonight, calling the treatment the Manchester United center half has received “a joke.”
Maguire, who has been stripped of United’s captaincy and informed he has no future at Old Trafford, came on in the second half of Scotland’s friendly international match at Hampden this evening.
Even though the visitors were leading 2-0 when he onto the pitch, the defender was booed whenever he touched the ball – and he scored an own goal when he turned an Andy Robertson cross into his own net.
However, Southgate was encouraged to hear the 59-times capped player’s name chanted by the travelling fans during the 3-1 victory and launched a passionate defense of the 30-year-old following the final whistle.
“From the perspective of a Scotland fan, I understand and have no complaints about anything they did,” he remarked.
“However, Harry’s treatment is a result of the ridiculous treatment he’s received for a long time.”
“It’s a farce – I’ve never seen a player treated so badly by our own pundits and commentators.” I’m pretty passionate about it.
“He’s been a key member of England’s most successful team for decades.” He’s been a rock, a pillar, and the balls he’s shown, the balls he displays every time he goes out there, are absolutely phenomenal. He’s a great player, and we’re all behind him.
“After the game, Harry was OK. We’ve had a good win, he’s played an important role in it, and he’s faced the media like he always does. Everything about him speaks volumes about his character.”
Southgate, who faced criticism after England’s 1-1 draw with Ukraine in a Euro 2024 qualifier in Poland on Saturday, was pleased with England’s performance against Scotland.
“We wanted to give a controlled performance on the ball so we could quieten the fantastic atmosphere,” he explained.
“With our passing in behind, we posed a real threat, and our work without the ball was fantastic.” It was an outstanding performance with a fantastic outcome. I simply believe we performed admirably. We were able to eliminate the threat posed by Scotland.
“Jude Bellingham was fantastic. We suspected that position would generate problems for Scotland. Their midfield can influence games if given the opportunity, which we did not provide them.”
“The Scottish fans should be really proud of the job Steve Clarke is doing and the progress the team has made,” Southgate concluded.
“I’m sure there will be a reaction here to the result, but we’ve only had that reaction for three days since the Ukraine game, and that’s important to understand.”