Gareth Southgate in thinly-veiled dig at Roy Keane over Harry Maguire criticism

gareth southgate roy keane

Gareth Southgate aims dig at Roy Keane.

Gareth Southgate has appeared to take a dig at Roy Keane over his recent criticism of Harry Maguire.

Maguire has been subject to intense scrutiny in recent weeks due to his form for Manchester United and on Friday night, he celebrated scoring for England against Albania by putting his fingers in his ears, something which many saw as a message to his critics.

Roy Keane has been vocal in Harry Maguire criticism.

Maguire himself denied that the celebration was aimed at anyone in particular but Keane didn’t appear to agree, asking on ITV: “He thinks if he scores there, he’s going to shut his critics up?” before adding that the defender’s behaviour was “embarrassing.”

Southgate was initially asked about Maguire’s celebration directly after the 5-0 victory, appearing to brush the conversation aside by saying: “I don’t know, is he a Hulk Hogan fan? I don’t know what the celebration was for.”

With a couple of days behind him, Southgate addressed the recent criticism of Maguire on Sunday and it appeared that the England manager was referring to Keane when defending the Man United captain.

Gareth Southgate on Harry Maguire criticism.

“We have to understand that in the industry we’re in, there are different roles,” Southgate told reporters ahead of the Three Lions’ final 2022 World Cup qualifier against San Marino on Monday.

“In order to make a living in those different roles, you’ve got to take certain approaches. You have a choice of which type of approach you’re going to take.

“I was always thinking as an ex-player and ex-manager, recognising how difficult those things were,” Southgate added of his previous career as an ITV pundit, during which time he was a close colleague of Keane.

“So I guess I had empathy for those that were stepping over the line to play and those that were in the dugout. It really depends on what you need to do to stay in work.”

Keane and Southgate have previously spoken of their respect for each other and appear to share a warm relationship, so it’s not clear how well the former will take the latter’s comments, which appeared to be aimed his way.

Ex-players line up to defend Maguire.

Other notable ex-players to defend Maguire over Keane’s comments include Micah Richards, John Terry and Gabriel Agbonlahor, with Agbonlahor suggesting that Maguire is a victim of bullying at the hands of Keane.

Despite his miserable club form, Maguire has performed well for England throughout 2021, scoring a total of four goals in 10 games during the year.

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