Home SPORTS Harry Maguire: England defender says he can ‘deal with’ Scotland ‘banter’

Harry Maguire: England defender says he can ‘deal with’ Scotland ‘banter’

England’s Harry Maguire says the reaction from the Scotland fans in Tuesday friendly at Hampden Park was just a “little bit of banter” and he “can deal with it”.

Scottish fans mocked the Manchester United defender, ironically applauding his passes, with Maguire going on to score an own goal in England’s 3-1 win.

“It pretty much takes the pressure away from my team-mates and puts it all on myself,” Maguire said.

“It makes them play better, for sure.”

England boss Gareth Southgate condemned the “ridiculous treatment” of Maguire after the game, saying the criticism the defender has faced is “a joke”.

Maguire was a key part of the England teams that reached the 2018 World Cup semi-finals and Euro 2020 final – and was United captain after an £80m move from Leicester.

But a downturn in form has seen the 30-year-old lose his starting place at Old Trafford and the Red Devils captaincy.

He remains a regular for England – and was only a half-time substitute at Hampden Park because Southgate rotated his team for a friendly.

Maguire has received much criticism in the press and on social media, leading to him being booed by his own fans for both England – in 2022 friendlies against the Ivory Coast and Germany – and United – in pre-season friendlies abroad last summer and again this year.

Southgate said he had no complaints with the Scottish fans, as the opposition team, mocking Maguire but added it was a “consequence of ridiculous treatment of him for a long period of time”.

On the Glasgow game, Maguire said: “It is a little bit of banter and it is a hostile environment, coming away to Scotland.

“We knew coming here, when you hear the national anthem and the way they disrespect that, we knew it would be hostile and in the second half I got most of it.

“I am happy to go with that, don’t worry about that.”

Four of Maguire’s past five games have been for England. His only United appearance this season was as a substitute in their defeat at Arsenal. He has only played 491 Premier League minutes in 2023.

But Maguire, who almost joined West Ham this summer, hopes he will get more football with United starting in the Champions League and Carabao Cup this month.

“I know when I have not started a game in the first four games of the season, the story comes to me,” said Maguire.

“I finished off last season with two very strong performances for England and I have played in all five matches to help put us where we are in qualifying, so I need to keep performing when I get chosen.

“At club football, I want to play games, I want to play football.

“The first four weeks were hard because it was one game a week and the manager didn’t select me, but we have lots of games coming up now and I am sure I will play lots of games.”

Maguire’s England team-mate, Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, defended the former Hull City defender.

“Harry Maguire has had criticism for the past 18 months, two years,” he said. “It hasn’t affected him.

“His performances for England have been nigh on outstanding, that’s why he keeps getting picked and played.

“He had 45 minutes in a game where I thought he played well, kept the ball for us and one unfortunate own goal, if you want to call it that, and people are going to start talking about him and I don’t think it’s needed.

“People will say he’s come on and scored an own goal, but if he has any doubt in his mind, I want my defender to try to clear it.

“It’s a cross-shot, he’s tried to deal with it and eight times out of 10 it goes behind for a corner or he clears it.

“Every time he touched the ball the crowd got up and made noises and he dealt with it extremely well, played some lovely passes.”

Brighton captain Lewis Dunk, who partnered Maguire at the back in Scotland, said: “What he gets is unfair but credit to him, he stands with his chest tall and takes it on the chin and puts in performances out there so credit to him.

“It is very harsh. That’s the way unfortunately football and sometimes fans, media take a story and they run with it.

“This one has built up massively and it is an ongoing thing that is going on, but I think he can hold his head high and take massive credit from the way he has handled it.”

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