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Gareth Southgate takes Harry Maguire’s side following Roy Keane criticism

Tyrone Mings Harry Maguire

Keane wasn’t happy with the England defender’s celebration…

Gareth Southgate has taken Harry Maguire’s side following Roy Keane’s criticism of his celebration for England.

Maguire scored the opening goal in a 5-0 win against Albania, and put his fingers in his ears as he ran to the crowd to celebrate the goal.

Keane took issue with this, saying at half-time: “He’s been a disgrace the last few games for Man United. He thinks if he scores there, he’s going to shut his critics up? Embarrassing.”

Southgate has backed his player though, joking that he thought his celebration was a wrestling reference.

Gareth Southgate on Harry Maguire celebration

“I don’t know, is he a Hulk Hogan fan? I don’t know what the celebration was for,” the England boss said when asked about what the defender did after his goal.

He continued: “He’s a fabulous player, two months ago he was in the European Championship team of the tournament.

“He’s rushed back because he’s the sort of player that has a huge conscience to help his club and I said during the week you get lots of players that hide in the treatment room when the pressure’s on.

“He hasn’t done that and I’ve got massive respect for doing that.”

Gareth Southgate Harry Maguire

“But, you know, as a player, sometimes you can go into matches not 100% fit or short of the training that ideally you’d like.

“And, of course, you’re always judged as if you’re a fully fit player in those moments – as soon as you cross the white line, that’s professional football.

“He understands that but I’ve had a really good chat with him earlier this week, reminded him of how important he is for us.”

Harry Maguire’s season so far

Maguire on the other hand, defended his decision to go with the celebration he did, saying: “It wasn’t directed at no one. It was a knee slide, I obviously put my hands on my ears.”

The Manchester United captain has had a poor start to the season with his club, made worse by Raphael Varane’s recent injury troubles.

He is perhaps lucky that Eric Bailly’s performances are so inconsistent, as if he played like he did against Atalanta every week, Maguire’s position could be in danger.

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