Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has stood by Harry Maguire, insisting the centre-back does not deserve the level of criticism shown to him.
Maguire has long faced criticism, and often abuse, from large parts of both the United fanbase and the wider footballing world, and he was booed during the international break as he netted an own goal in England’s victory over Scotland.
After the game, England boss Gareth Southgate hit out at the treatment of Maguire, who later stressed he does not let the abuse get to him. Maguire’s own mother also released a statement pleading for compassion.
Ten Hag, who took the captain’s armband from Maguire earlier this summer and has pushed him down the pecking order, pledged his support for the “great” 30-year-old.
“I have said many times that it is disrespectful, [he] doesn’t deserve it, he is a great player, gives great performances,” Ten Hag told reporters. “It is crazy but how it works. Harry has to block this.
“You see his career, a lot to come, he has to block it with good performances. It is also with the generation, about team construction, the group dynamic and always about the team, that is above everything else but within that, everyone plays his role, different characters and you have to manage those characters.”
Maguire made his first United appearance of the season in the 3-1 defeat to Arsenal before the international break, coming off the bench for the final 20 minutes after Lisandro Martinez picked up an injury.
However, he seems set to return to the bench for the upcoming visit from Brighton & Hove Albion after Ten Hag confirmed both Martinez and Victor Lindelof are fit and available.
Usual starter Raphael Varane remains unavailable alongside midfielder Mason Mount and defenders Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia.