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Southgate hits out at unrelenting criticism of Harry
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Press Association
Harry Maguire retains the full backing of England boss Gareth Southgate
Harry Maguire retains the full backing of England boss Gareth Southgate

Gareth Southgate has labelled the unrelenting criticism of England defender Harry Maguire "ridiculous" and "a joke". 

Little more than two years on from being named in the Euro 2020 Team of the Tournament, Maguire is now the butt of jokes to many. 

The centre-back's struggle for form and game time at Manchester United have increased the spotlight on a player that has remained an integral part of Southgate's squad. 

He made his first start of the season in Saturday's 1-1 Euro 2024 qualifying draw against Ukraine and was mocked mercilessly when brought on at half-time against Scotland before scoring an own goal. 

Speaking after the Three Lions won 3-1 at Hampden Park, Southgate said: "From a Scotland fan's point of view, I get it and I have absolutely no complaints with what they did.

"It is a consequence of ridiculous treatment of him for a long period of time, frankly. 

"It's a joke. I've never known a player treated the way he is. Not by the Scottish fans, by our own commentators, pundits, whatever it is. 

"They've created something that's beyond anything I've ever seen. 

"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 amongst that. 

"Every time he goes on the field, the resilience he shows, the balls he shows is absolutely incredible. 

"He's a top player and we're all with him and our fans were brilliant with him tonight."

England fans chanted Maguire's name throughout the second half, including bellowing out "Harry Maguire, he's winning 3-1" after Harry Kane added to Phil Foden and Jude Bellingham’s first-half goals. 

Southgate added: "We've had a good win, he's been a big part of that. 

"He's gone and spoken with the media because that's the sort of lad he is. 

"He's fronted up as he always does, so again enormous credit to his character."

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