• News

Manchester United legend slams Southgate over Maguire defense

Harry Maguire - England
Getty Images

England fans booed Harry Maguire during a 3-0 friendly win over Ivory Coast on Tuesday night.

Roy Keane has slammed England manager Gareth Southgate’s passionate defense of defender Harry Maguire.

The Manchester United captain was the subject of jeers from England supporters before the Three Lions’ 3-0 friendly victory against Ivory Coast on Tuesday at Wembley.

An unimpressed Southgate later described the boos as ‘an absolute joke’, causing Keane to critize the England coach for an unnecessary reaction.

‘Gareth is almost picking and choosing when to support his players’

Speaking on ITV as a pundit, Keane said: “I think Gareth has made it a bigger story than what it is.

“Every player gets booed. There are going to be idiots at football matches. England fans have got a lot of idiots. And if they’re going to boo Harry Maguire, I think Gareth could have easily said that it’s no big deal. He actually played well, just focus on that.”

“I think he’s made a bigger story than what it is,” the former Manchester United skipper continued.

“And Gareth is almost picking and choosing when to support his players. Raheem Sterling had a bust-up two or three years ago, he was bombed out of the squad. He’s left other players out.

“I remember when Harry was sent off [in October 2020] against Denmark. He didn’t really support him – I thought – when he was walking off the pitch.

“So I think Gareth’s made a bigger story than what it is. Just get on with the game. He played well! And he’ll get fans back onside by his performances, not by people [like Southgate] reacting to a few boos or social media. Forget about it.

“Be big enough and man enough just to get on with the game. And he played well – that’s the most important thing.”

What next for Maguire?

The 29-year-old will return to Manchester United on Saturday to face former side Leicester City in the Premier League.

At the time of writing, Bet365 has priced a home win at 1.53. This suggests Manchester United have a 65% chance of victory. A draw pays out at 4.33, while an away win for Leicester returns odds of 5.75.