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Gareth Southgate says treatment of Harry Maguire 'a joke' in passionate defence of England defender

Gareth Southgate has passionately defended Harry Maguire after he was mocked by Scotland fans during England's 3-1 win at Hampden Park on Tuesday; Man Utd defender scored an own goal after coming on at half-time; "It's a joke; an absolute joke. It makes me livid," said Southgate

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Speaking to Sky Sports News, Gareth Southgate launched a vehement defence of Harry Maguire, describing his treatment by some supporters as a 'joke'

Gareth Southgate has leapt to the defence of Harry Maguire after his every pass was sarcastically mocked against Scotland, with the England manager calling his treatment an "absolute joke".

Maguire, who started on the bench for England in their 3-1 win over Scotland, was brought on at half-time owing to an injury to Marc Guehi and was subjected to ironic cheers from the Scottish fans for every pass he made.

The England defender went on to score an own-goal in his team's otherwise impressive victory.

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Kris Boyd felt there wasn't anything Harry Maguire could do to prevent himself from scoring an own-goal against Scotland

It was a similar situation to the one he faced in Manchester United's clash with Arsenal, where his arrival on the pitch was roundly cheered by Gunners fans.

But while Southgate praised the support Maguire received from England supporters at Hampden Park, he described himself as "livid" at the sustained criticism the defender has received back home.

Speaking to Sky Sports News, the England boss said: "He's just come out and spoken to the media, which I think shows the resilience and the character of him.

"We're now in a situation where, because of people in our own country, the opposition think they can have fun with him. What's that about?

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"He's been an incredible player for England in one of the most successful teams we've had - critical for what we've been doing.

"We allow him to be open to that? It's a joke; an absolute joke. It makes me livid.

"Thankfully he's got the support of the dressing room and the people behind him. I thought the England fans in the stadium tonight were absolutely brilliant.

"I've no problem with the Scotland fans - they're having fun. But what stirs that up is people in our own country. Other players will think: 'Is that what awaits us?'

"Great credit to him that he managed to show the composure with the ball, keep the ball and put that moment behind him."

Analysis: Southgate ready to stick with Maguire

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Sky Sports News' Rob Dorsett says he expects Gareth Southgate to continue to back Harry Maguire despite criticism over the defender's performances

Sky Sports News' Rob Dorsett:

Maguire has become a caricature of calamity in a lot of people's eyes in and around football and his manager Gareth Southgate has had enough, plain and simple. Rarely have I seen the England manager so animated as he was when he spoke to me in the mixed zone at Hampden Park last night. His paternal instincts came out again. We've seen it with the younger players in the squad in the past but last night it was one of the senior players he was looking to protect.

I don't think the England supporters were critical or mocking Harry Maguire, by contrast they were cheering his name. But the point Southgate is making is the criticism Maguire has had from pundits, the media and on social media has created this caricature of calamity which is fair game for opposing fans to have a go at.

I get the sense Gareth Southgate will dig his heels in here and become more stubborn and continue to pick Harry Maguire and continue to play Harry Maguire even if the noises around that get louder and louder against the idea of him playing for England.

To put that into context, Maguire scored an own goal last night and he was unlucky. That can happen to any player. He actually played pretty well for the rest of the 45 minutes he was on, his positional play was good, he didn't give the ball away and yet even on our own Sky Sports website and App we've given him 4/10, two less than anybody else. The vast majority of England players got 7 or 8 out of 10.

Nobody's wrong, it's subjective and everyone is entitled to their opinion but Southgate has had enough of the opinions he thinks are misguided being directed pointedly at Harry Maguire.

Ramsdale: Maguire's a leader - I love working with him

Aaron Ramsdale watched Maguire's wayward touch go past him and into the net at Hampden Park to ruin his prospects of keeping a clean sheet, but the goalkeeper also strongly defended his team-mate after the match.

Speaking to Sky Sports News, the Arsenal 'keeper said: "I can sympathise with him in a way because I've been at the other end of the Premier League and been relegated twice.

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Gareth Southgate said it's a joke the way Harry Maguire has been treated and says he's been crucial in England's success over the past years

"When you're in a period where fans or pundits put you under the microscope, every little thing is analysed. If he was playing week in and week out, or this noise wasn't around, and he scored an own goal then this probably gets brushed under the carpet.

"He's tried to do the right thing and clear it, but it's gone in. It's unfortunate but because of the situation people are overhyping, saying he shouldn't be playing.

"Maguire is, as we've seen over the past few years for England, one of the best defenders we've got. He's so strong mentally, he's got great people around him and he knows his qualities.

"He's a leader and I love working with him."

Clarke: Sometimes you have to take your medicine

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Steve Clarke reacts to Scotland's 3-1 loss to 'good opposition' England and is hoping for a strong performance in Spain

In his post-match assessment, Scotland manager Steve Clarke vowed his side would learn from their defeat, saying: "I had some things I wanted to see tonight before we go to Spain next month for the competitive game.

"I'll go away and I'll analyse the game and I'll see what I can do better.

"There were some good things, there were some things we're going to have to be better at, and that's our job.

"The most important thing in this camp was to get three points in Cyprus and we achieved that.

"We knew playing against England was going to be difficult, playing away against Spain is going to be difficult, but if you want to learn as a team you have to play against good opposition so we have to go away, learn our lessons and try to be better in the future.

"In the competitive games we've got five wins and 15 points. I told the lads it's been a successful camp.

"It would have been nice to end on a positive result against England but the objective of what we came in to do has been done.

"We didn't want to lose to our auld enemy but, on the night, England were better.

"Sometimes you have to take your medicine in football. Tonight we'll take our medicine and try to improve."

What's next?

Scotland's next game is a Euro 2024 Qualifier against Spain in Seville on October 12 - kick-off 7.45pm.

England's next outing is against Australia in a friendly at Wembley on October 13. Their next Euro 2024 qualifier is versus Italy on Tuesday October 17.

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