Harry Maguire came off the bench in England’s 3-1 win over Scotland in a friendly match on Tuesday night. 20 minutes after being subbed on he put the ball in the back of his own net. Having previously been booed by England supporters, the Scotland fans joined in the mocking by reacting to his every touch.
After the game, Gareth Southgate spoke to the media in defence of the centre-back.
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. 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.
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’.
Southgate has always insisted that he picks players for England based on form but this claim has come under scrutiny with Maguire and Kalvin Phillips, both who rarely play for their clubs, getting selected for every England squad.