Southgate: Maguire is an England stalwart
England boss Gareth Southgate is perplexed and angry about the fact Harry Maguire is being singled out for abuse.
The Manchester United defender was jeered by the Scotland supporters after coming on at half-time in the Three Lions' impressive 3-1 victory at Hampden Park, in a heritage friendly marking the 150th anniversary of the first fixture between the two nations.
The 30-year-old has been a tower of strength for England during this successful period under Southgate and the manager did not hold back when asked for his views on the current criticism of one of his most trusted individuals, who has won 59 caps and been a key part of the teams that reached the 2018 World Cup semi-finals and Euro 2020 final.
The centre-back has remained a regular as the Three Lions look to justify their tag as being one of the favourites to win next year's European Championship.
"I've never known a player treated the way he is," said Southgate.
"He's been an absolute stalwart for us in the second-most successful England team for decades - he's been an absolutely key part of that.
"I've talked about the importance of our senior players, he's been crucial among that.
"Every time he goes on the field, the resilience he shows is absolutely incredible. He's a top player and we're all with him and our fans were brilliant with him."
Maguire took over the captain's armband when Harry Kane, another scorer, was replaced, after United's Marcus Rashford had provided a constant threat to the Scotland backline and being involved in the build-up to the first two goals.
Southgate was pleased with the way the away supporters got behind their man, as the Reds' crowd do whenever our players face criticism, as has shown with the likes of David Beckham, Phil Neville and Wayne Rooney in the past when representing their country.
"From a Scotland fans' point of view I get it," accepted the former Middlesbrough manager. "I have absolutely no complaints with what they did.
"But it's a consequence of ridiculous treatment of him for a long period of time. It's a joke. Not by the Scottish fans but by our own commentators, pundits or whatever it is. They've created something that's beyond anything I have ever seen.
"I think our fans recognised: 'okay, there might be a bit of heat from our own supporters but we're not going to have others getting into him'."