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Southgate hits back and Keane and Co.

Southgate hits back at Maguire's critics after Roy Keane labelled the Englishman "a disgrace"

November 15, 2021 By Ali M.
The English national team boss defended his center-back ahead of their crucial World Cup qualifier against San Marino.

Harry Maguire has found himself on the receiving end of backlash due to his goal celebration against Albania but has now been defended publicly by Gareth Southgate, the manager of the English national team.

The Man United center-back entered this international break on the back of poor form, having been a key culprit in his club's defeats against rivals Man City and Liverpool. In fact, many of his critics argued that he should not have been called up to the national team for the month of November, let alone start in Southgate's lineup in their penultimate World Cup qualifier.

However, the boiling point for many was his celebration after breaking the deadlock against Albania in the Three Lions' 5-0 victory. The former Leicester ace reacted by cupping his ears after finding the back of the net in the ninth minute. He then followed that up by putting his fingers in his ears, a gesture interpreted as him silencing his critics.

Man Utd legend Roy Keane, who was on pundit duty at ITV during the game, tore apart the Red Devils captain during half-time, labelling him a "disgrace" and an embarrassment, saying: "He puts his hand to his ear. He's like shutting the critics up but I think that's embarrassing," Keane said at half-time on ITV. 

"He's been a disgrace the past few months for Manchester United. He thinks he scores there, he's going to shut his critics up. Embarrassing."

Southgate, who is preparing his team for their 10th and final World Cup qualifier against San Marino, addressed this issue. While the England gaffer is not one to lose his cool and abandon all professionalism in order to go on a rant, the Three Lions boss accused pundits of generating headlines in response to Maguire being labelled "a disgrace".

"I think we have to understand that the industry we're in... in order to make a living you need to take different approaches. So you have a choice of which type of approach you're going to take," he told reporters, as per the Manchester Evening News.

"It depends what you have to do to stay in work, some channels or forums require headlines, some channels or forums require a certain type of approach so it's different, I understand that.

"To stay relevant in those fields you need to be more quotable and [quotes are] lifted now from the live broadcasts for [the] next day's headlines; everyone in those shows knows how it works and it fills a different part of our industry.

"That's where we're at. Personally, as a manager I get it, so be it. But I'm sure for the players they may feel different, they're younger, they may not have experienced those fields perhaps I've got."

Maguire has – and will likely continue to be – a key figure in Southgate's set-up. Having seen his displays for his country at both the 2018 World Cup and Euro 2020, in which they reached the semifinals and final respectively, it's easy to understand why Gareth is a fan of the Sheffield-born defender.

The 28-year has been at the heart of England's rock-solid defense, forming a formidable partnership alongside Man City's John Stones. However, both could be rested in the game against San Marino as the 1966 World Cup winners need merely a point to secure automatic qualification for Qatar 2022.

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