Unsurprisingly, Scotland supporters booed Harry Maguire, and Gareth Southgate questioned why the player was being used as a scapegoat.
After scoring an own goal against Scotland, Harry Maguire took a brief moment to glance down before returning to his place for the restart.
When Andy Robertson delivered a cross into the box from the right, might Maguire have extended his leg? No. Is he now the worst player to have played for England and deserving of hatred because of his error? No.
When England travels north of the border, Hampden Park is sure to be hostile, but Scotland supporters merely jeered Maguire, and Gareth Southgate is correct to say that’s because of the story behind him.
I understand it from the standpoint of Scotland’s supporters. I have no issues with what they did. When asked about Maguire after the game, Southgate responded, “It’s a result of ridiculous treatment of him for a long period of time.
“Our fans understood that there might be some heat from our own fans, but we won’t tolerate it from other people going into him. This is a joke. Not only by Scottish supporters, but also by commentators, experts, and everyone else, they’ve produced something I’ve never seen before, and I’ve never known a player to be treated the way he is.
He has been a pillar for us and a vital member of England’s most successful teams for many years. He has had a major role in that. I’ve mentioned how important older players are, and he is essential to that.
“The tenacity and balls he displays every time he enters the field are just astounding. He is a top athlete. All of us are with him. I have strong feelings about it. He’s excellent; he’s good. He played a crucial role in that victory.
Despite being a cool-headed manager, Southgate lost his cool in this situation. He said that the way that Maguire is being treated “makes him livid” and that it gives him comfort to see that the England manager still supports the player.
Over the past several years, there have been numerous and reasonable cries for Maguire to surrender his starting spot for England. His Manchester United performances have been subpar, and he is not worthy of an international roster spot.
Maguire would not be on the team if Southgate had chosen the England squad only on the basis of club achievements, but it is important to remember that the center-back has excelled for his nation in each big competition.
Maguire has been seen by United fans at his worst and by English fans at his best. He has performed flawlessly for his nation, and in both the Euro 2020 and the 2018 World Cup in Russia, he was selected for the tournament’s all-star team.
Because of his outstanding achievements for England, Southgate has remained steadfast in his support. Maguire has paid back that trust, and he most certainly hasn’t earned the right to be used as a scapegoat on a global scale.
Maguire is a flawed player, like the majority of them, and the legitimate criticism of his performances is deserved. However, it has been weird and unjustified for millions of supporters to portray Maguire as the pantomime villain, and the derision has grown tiresome.
Tuesday’s match against Scotland was began by Lewis Dunk and Marc Guehi, but after the latter sustained an injury just before halftime, Maguire was the obvious choice to replace him.
Fikayo Tomori and Levi Colwill, who has not yet played for England, were the other substitutes. In contrast, Maguire has 59 international appearances, and his background playing in a challenging environment was utilized.
Scotland fans singled out Maguire, something they wouldn’t have done if it weren’t for the story around him. While some would have you believe he’s a terrible player, the truth is that he’d help most Premier League teams.
It has been stated in response to Southgate’s interview that he must shoulder some responsibility for Maguire’s treatment and that the player’s constant inclusion in the team has brought more attention to him.
Even though there is some truth to that claim, Southgate would counter by pointing out when Maguire has let England down. The athlete has been unfairly used as a scapegoat, yet there seems to be no other way for the story to carry on.
Maguire will continue to play as a pantomime villain at Old Trafford as long as he stays there, where he isn’t a regular starter, and a move away from the team would give him the chance to remind people of his talent.
In a certain tactical scheme, he is still a top defender after two successful seasons at United. Maguire won’t be able to convince detractors that he’s still a wise operator week in and week out until he joins another squad.
Due to Maguire’s treatment, Southgate had every right to be incensed.