England manager Gareth Southgate and senior Three Lions players have passionately supported Harry Maguire after the Manchester United captain was booed at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday.A section of England fans jeered Maguire’s name when the teams were read out ahead of kick-off against the Ivory Coast and there was a similar occurrence for his first touch of the ball. Such a reaction is hard to fathom when you consider Harry’s contribution in recent years, notably playing a starring role in the team’s runs to the World Cup semi-final and European Championship final, scoring vital goals in both and being named in the latter’s Team of the Tournament. Against Ivory Coast on Tuesday evening, Maguire helped to keep a clean sheet and played a vital role in Raheem Sterling scoring the second goal in a 3-0 win, with a positive and precise pass out from the back. It goes without saying that everybody at Manchester United is behind our club captain and we look forward to showing him our support at Old Trafford on Saturday, in the Premier League match against his former club Leicester City.
HIS PERFORMANCE WAS FAULTLESS’
England manager Southgate spoke passionately about Maguire on Tuesday night by telling reporters: “The reception was a joke, an absolute joke. I don’t know how it benefits anybody. We’re either all in it together or we’re not. I imagine if you asked a few of them why they did it they probably wouldn’t even be able to answer. It’s mob mentality.
“One end of the ground you have a hardcore group trying to get his name sung – it wasn’t everybody. Players will look at that and think, that could be me. It makes players not want to come. That happened with John Barnes here, that happened with Ashley Cole a couple of times, it happened with Raheem, now Harry. We need Harry to do well. We aren’t going to win a World Cup with a load of players with three or four caps. That’s never happened in the history of the game.”
In another interview with Sky Sports, Southgate doubled down on his defence of Harry: “The way he has performed for us has been absolutely phenomenal. I don’t get it. He’s in an England shirt and not only should you support a player in an England shirt regardless, but when you’ve played at the level he has for us – and put the performances in he has – it should be total commitment behind him.
“His performance was pretty faultless really. He stepped out from the back really well for the first goal, was involved in the second one too. The team are totally united. We recognise everyone has difficult moments, but he’s a top player and he will come through it. They are real England fans and some are influenced by whatever – social media or players that played previously who are influencing opinion. The club situation is obviously very difficult, but he’s in an England shirt. I remember decades ago a few players being booed in an England shirt and it’s never been acceptable to me. Fans should always get behind their team.”
SUPPORT FROM HIS TEAM-MATES
Read what Maguire’s England colleagues said at Wembley…
Harry Kane: “We’ve worked hard to rebuild our connection with England fans in the last few years so to hear Harry Maguire booed at Wembley before kick-off was just not right. The fact that he’s been brilliant on the pitch and given us all so many great memories makes it even harder to understand. He doesn’t deserve that reception. He’s got full support in the changing room and should have the same from every England fan.”
Jordan Henderson: “I can’t get my head around what happened at Wembley tonight. Harry has been a colossus for England. Without him, the progress made at the last two tournaments would not have been possible. To be booed at his home stadium, for no reason? What have we become? What happened tonight was just wrong. As someone who wants to win with England I feel fortunate to share a dressing room with him. We all feel the same.”
Jack Grealish: “Harry has been unbelievable for this country – the World Cup, the Euros, he has been brilliant. Our first two goals, the first one comes from him driving with the ball and the second one comes from him driving a little bit. Not every centre-back has those qualities.”
Declan Rice: “Total embarrassment from whoever booed. Harry has been incredible every single time he’s put on the England shirt. Absolute nonsense now it’s becoming. Back your own players. Especially with a Major tournament coming up.”
Keep your head up, Harry, the United family is with you.,..