Gareth Southgate has strongly criticized the unjust treatment of Harry Maguire regarding his continued inclusion in the England team, labeling the criticism as the most severe he has ever witnessed.
Despite having only made one substitute appearance for Manchester United this season, the 30-year-old center-back was selected to start in England’s 1-1 draw against Ukraine on Saturday and came on at halftime during Tuesday’s 3-1 victory over Scotland.
Maguire faced a hostile reception from the home fans at Hampden Park and was even subjected to mockery after an unfortunate own goal. Southgate acknowledged the banter from the Scottish fans but condemned the relentless ridicule and criticism from pundits, the media, and even England’s own supporters.
In a visibly impassioned interview with beIN Sports after the match, Southgate said, “He was outstanding for us over the weekend. The reaction tonight is a result of foolish individuals on our side who have fostered this environment. What I found commendable tonight was our fans in the stadium, recognizing the need to stand by their own players. We should be doing that.”
Southgate expressed frustration at the problems created for Maguire, saying, “We’re creating a problem for our own player. Some of the articles written and comments made were utterly ludicrous. He has been a pillar of strength for us during one of the most successful periods in English football. The response tonight, while I understand it from Scottish fans, is a product of our own side’s actions, and it’s absurd.”
Continuing his defense of Maguire in the post-match press conference, Southgate remarked, “From the perspective of Scottish fans, I understand it completely, and I have no complaints about their actions. It’s a consequence of the unreasonable treatment he has endured for a prolonged period. Our fans recognized that. It’s a joke; I’ve never seen a player treated this way, not by Scottish fans but by our own commentators, pundits, and others.”
Southgate emphasized Maguire’s vital role in the team, saying, “He’s been an absolute stalwart for us in one of the most successful England teams in decades. He’s a top player, and we stand with him. Our fans were fantastic in their support tonight.”
Regarding Maguire’s response to the situation, Southgate added, “He’s handling it well. We’ve had a good victory, and he’s been a significant part of that. He faced the media, as he always does, which speaks to his character. He’s shown tremendous resilience and determination every time he steps onto the field.”