Harry Maguire sends defiant message to England fans after nightmare season at Man Utd

It has been the toughest season of Harry Maguire’s career.

Maguire lost his form at Manchester United, fans turned on him, he suffered a crisis of confidence at Old Trafford and it felt like he was apologising every week. England has always been his salvation because he has never let his country down but even that changed during the friendly with Ivory Coast at Wembley in March.

A section of England fans booed his name when it was read out and each time he touched the ball. England boss Gareth Southgate described the fans as an “absolute joke” as he launched a passionate defence of his centre half.

Maguire said: “From my England debut, the England fans have been amazing with me, I have had some amazing times. I’ve been involved in some of the biggest games. I have been involved in the biggest games of our country’s recent history.

“The journey I have been on since my debut five years ago to now I have had amazing times with the fans, and I am not going to let the minority, I don’t know how many it was, 10-20 people doing that in the Ivory Coast game to affect my relationship with the England fans, no.

“I think I was more surprised rather than taking it all in, I was a bit shocked to be honest. Like I said, I’ve had such a good relationship with the England fans throughout my journey with the England team. I wouldn’t say I was hurt and upset. Obviously I know my family and my friends might have been affected by it but I was more surprised really.

Harry Maguire had a season to forget at Manchester United

Harry Maguire had a season to forget at Manchester United
AFP via Getty Images)

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“There was a lot of young lads in the team that day, a lot of young people in the stands, lots of kids watching who inspire to grow up and be an England footballer so for them to hear that for somebody who’s been involved in a such a big part of the journey over the last five years, it’s sad to see.

“But I’m sure there will be many good times ahead when the England fans will show again their support and love because I’ve been an England fan in my time, I’ve been to the Euros and followed them in France and I know how passionate and how supportive they are of their country.”

Maguire, like Frank Lampard and Raheem Sterling before him, has suddenly been held up as the comedy villain by a small section of England fans. Club rivalries affect the way players are treated by England fans no matter how what they have done for their country.

England defender Maguire reached the World Cup semi final in 2018, the Nations League finals a year later and then suffered penalty shoot-out heartbreak after the Euros final last year.

These have been the best times for an England player for generations and that is why even when players like Maguire have bad spells they surely deserve more respect. Maguire insists he can cope with the criticism and he says they will be better equipped in the next World Cup.

Maguire added: “I am 29 years old, so I have been through a lot of ups and a lot of downs in my career and in my life, so I have learned to deal with it with experience. I’m my biggest critic. Although there is a lot of critics out there I’m actually still my biggest!

“The big thing now is that we have a lot of players that play in big European games and big matches for their clubs week-in week-out, fighting for the biggest trophies. And that big-game experience is crucial in tournaments.

“In Russia, the semi-final we didn’t have enough experience and we weren’t really there. For me, against Croatia we had the talent to win that game but I felt we didn’t have the mentality or the belief.

“Look, we were a penalty shootout away from winning in the biggest pressure in football – Wembley in the Euros final. If we can deal with that I’m sure we can deal with the pressure of a World Cup.”

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