Southgate slams 'JOKE' pundits and commentators for 'ridiculous' Maguire treatment after he's targeted by Scotland fans | The Sun
GARETH SOUTHGATE came out swinging in defence of Harry Maguire as he slammed the “ridiculous treatment” and criticism he faced as “a joke”.
The 30-year-old defender came off the bench to win his 59th England cap in last night’s 3-1 win at Scotland.
The Manchester United star’s inclusion in the squad, given his lack of starts at club level, was questioned by many.
But after playing a huge role in helping the Three Lions to the 2018 World Cup semi-final and the final of Euro 2020, he remains a key man for Southgate.
Scottish fans cheered his arrival on the pitch at Hampden Park yesterday, and then proceeded to jeer his every touch.
And things got even worse for Maguire when he scored an own goal midway through the second half.
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And afterwards his manager was quick to defend his player over the ridiculous scrutiny and criticism he receives.
Southgate said: “I've never known a player treated the way he is.
“He's been an absolute stalwart for us in the second most successful England team for decades – he's been an absolutely key part of that.
“I've talked about the importance of our senior players, he's been crucial among that.
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“Every time he goes on the field, the resilience he shows is absolutely incredible. He's a top player and we're all with him and our fans were brilliant with him.”
Maguire, who was stripped of the United captaincy this summer and was also heavily linked with a switch to West Ham, has only played once for the club this term as a sub against Arsenal.
It was another tough night again for the ex-Leicester City ace north of the border, but the travelling England fans showed their support for him by chanting his name following his setback.
Southgate added: “From a Scotland fans' point of view I get it. I have absolutely no complaints with what they did.
“But it's a consequence of ridiculous treatment of him for a long period of time.
“It's a joke. Not by the Scottish fans but by our own commentators, pundits or whatever it is.
“They've created something that's beyond anything I have ever seen.
“I think our fans recognised, 'OK there might be a bit of heat from our own supporters but we're not going to have others getting into him'.”
Team-mate Aaron Ramsdale also rallied around Maguire saying: "Harry Maguire, as we've seen in the past few years with England, is one of the best defenders we've got.
"So strong mentally, he's got a great group of people around him and he knows his qualities.
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"He's always a threat in the box form set pieces, he knows he can defend, he knows he's a leader and I love playing with him.
"Tonight was one of those unfortunate things."
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