Roy Keane's no-nonsense reaction to Harry Maguire being booed by England fans

  • Kobe Tong

Harry Maguire was booed by sections of the England support ahead of the friendly win against Ivory Coast on Tuesday night.

With the Manchester United skipper wading through the toughest season of his life, the last thing that he needed was boos and heckles from corners of Wembley when his name was read out before kick off.

And it’s fair to say that Gareth Southgate came down hard on the England fans who didn’t get behind one of their best performers at Euro 2020, unabashedly firing back in his post-match interview.

Southgate slams fans who booed Maguire

Speaking to Sky Sports after the final whistle, the England boss hit back by saying:  “The reception was a joke, an absolute joke.

“The way he has performed for us has been absolutely phenomenal, I don’t get it. We’re either all in this together or we’re not.”

Southgate wasn’t alone in his support for Maguire either with the likes of Jordan Henderson, Declan Rice and Harry Kane all publicly backing him amongst such a difficult time in his career.

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Keane reacts to the Maguire situation

However, it’s fair to say that there was less sympathy coming from one of his forebears to pull on the captain’s armband at Old Trafford: none other than Roy Keane himself.

The infamously-outspoken pundit has been highly critical of Maguire before, both for on-the-pitch errors and also moments related to his poor form such as the ear-cupping celebration against Albania.

And when asked about Southgate condemning the England fans who booed Maguire on ITV Sport’s highlights show, Keane essentially opined that a mountain had been made out of a molehill.

The Premier League icon calmly remarked: “I think Gareth has made it a bigger story than what it is. Every player gets booed. There’s going to be idiots at football matches. England fans have got a lot of idiots.

“And if they’re going to boo Harry Maguire, I think Gareth could have easily said that it’s no big deal. He actually played well, just focus on that.

Watch: Keane on the Maguire booing situation (SKIP TO 3:22)

“I think he’s made a bigger story than what it is. And Gareth is almost picking and choosing when to support his players. Raheem Sterling had a bust-up two or three years ago, he was bombed out of the squad. He’s left other players out.

“I remember when Harry was sent off [in October 2020] against Denmark. He didn’t really support him – I thought – when he was walking off the pitch.

“So I think Gareth’s made a bigger story than what it is. Just get on with the game. He played well! And he’ll get fans back onside by his performances, not by people [like Southgate] reacting to a few boos or social media. Forget about it.

“Be big enough and man enough just to get on with the game. And he played well – that’s the most important thing.”

Soccer Football – International Friendly – England v Ivory Coast – Wembley Stadium, London, Britain – March 29, 2022 England’s Harry Maguire during the match Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine

Are you with Southgate or Keane?

Would you expect anything different from Keane?

Rightly or wrongly, the United icon is just as uncompromising in the TV studio as he was on the pitch and you’ve got to respect the opinion of someone who achieved so much in the beautiful game.

Nevertheless, you can’t help feeling a lot of sympathy for Southgate in wanting to come out and defend a player who, frankly, didn’t deserve to be heckled by his own fans for little to no reason at all.

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It couldn’t be clearer that Maguire is suffering through a hard time in his career and it’s hard to see how booing the guy will help him to produce the sort of Herculean displays that he showed at Euro 2020 again.

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