England players speak of their disgust with Harry Maguire booed by own fans prior to the Three Lions’ 3-0 win against Ivory Coast at Wembley.
Ollie Watkins got England’s opener on 30 minutes when he tucked home from three yards for his second goal for his country.
Then on the 45th minute, Raheem Sterling scored after making his way through the Ivory Coast midfield, a Watkins lay-off proved helpful and when a shot was parried away by goalkeeper Badra Ali Sangare, the impressive Grealish confidently teed him up to turn in at the second attempt.
With minutes remaining of the game, Tyrone Mings headed in with the visitors reduced to 10 men by Serge Aurier’s bookings in quick succession in the first half.
Gareth Southgate hit out at England supporters who booed Harry Maguire, while Jack Grealish labelled the abuse “ridiculous”.
“I thought the reception was a joke. An absolute joke,” Southgate told Sky Sports. “What he’s done for us and the way he has performed for England has been phenomenal. I don’t get it.
“We’re either all in this together or we’re not. He’s in an England shirt and not only should you support someone in an England shirt regardless but when he’s played at the level he has, it should be total commitment behind him. So, I don’t get it.
“He was pretty faultless, stepping out from the back for the first goal and was involved in the second goal. This team is totally united. We recognise people have difficult moments but he’s top player and will come through it.
“They are real England fans. And some are influenced by whatever, I don’t know if it’s social media, players that have played previously that are influencing opinion… Obviously his club situation is difficult but he’s in an England shirt.
“I remember a few decades ago when some players were booed in an England shirt – it’s never been acceptable. I’ve never got it. Why would people play any better? Fans should always get behind their team.”
Maguire’s name did get sung during the match and Southgate accepted it wasn’t a case of everyone turning on the defender but he insisted England will need Maguire at his best if they’re to do well in Qatar.
“It becomes mob mentality. At one end of the ground, we’ve got a hardcore section of fans playing his song. I’m very aware it’s not everybody. But we’re either all in it together or we’re not,” said Southgate.
“Don’t think for one minute the other players won’t be looking at that thinking, ‘that could be me one day’. And that’s been one of the problems with playing for England. Players have thought, ‘do I want to go because when it turns a little bit difficult the crowd are going to turn on me’. That happened with John Barnes here, it happened with Ashley Cole, with Raheem. And now Harry. They’re all outstanding players.
“We need Harry Maguire playing well to even have a chance of doing well. We’re not going to win a World Cup with players with three or four caps. That’s not happened in the history of the game. We need our experienced players playing well, especially in those types of positions.
“In my opinion, he’s the best centre back at his club as well. It’s ludicrous. Every time he steps onto a football pitch every action is analysed to death. I can’t remember a player having that sort of spotlight on him.”
Jack Grealish said the team didn’t like what they were hearing: “Personally I think it’s ridiculous. Even tonight he was brilliant. Our first two goals, first one him driving out with ball, second one driving a bit and passing to Ollie. Not every centre-back can have those qualities.
“He’s been a fantastic servant for his country and it’s ridiculous for him to get booed. It wasn’t something the team liked. Harry’s a strong-minded person. His performance tonight will have done him the world of good. It will only spur him on. It’s not nice to hear but you’ve got a job to do.
“We had a brilliant relationship with the supporters last year at the Euros and we need to keep it like that into the World Cup.”
🗣 “I thought the reception was a joke, an absolute joke. What he has done for us, the way he has performed for England, I don’t get it”
Gareth Southgate was FURIOUS after Harry Maguire was booed by some England fans ahead of the friendly against the Ivory Coast 😡 pic.twitter.com/GwGSApw7aj
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) March 29, 2022
Meanwhile, Declan Rice said: “Total embarrassment from whoever boo’d tonight. @HarryMaguire93 has been incredible every single time he’s put on the England shirt. Absolute nonsense now it’s becoming. Back your own players. Especially with a Major tournament coming up.”
🤯 “I can’t get my head around it. Why has Maguire become this figure to boo?”
👀 “It says more about the people who are booing him. Start behaving like football supporters & get behind the player!”
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) March 30, 2022
Henderson has since weighed, saying: “I can’t get my head around what happened at Wembley tonight.
“Harry Maguire has been a colossus for England. Without him, the progress made at the last two tournaments would not have been possible. To be booed at his home stadium, for no reason? What have we become?
“What happened tonight was just wrong. As someone who wants to win with England I feel fortunate to share a dressing room with him. We all feel the same!”
Harry Kane wrote via Twitter: “We’ve worked hard to rebuild our connection with England fans in the last few years so to hear Harry Maguire booed at Wembley before kick off was just not right.
“The fact that he’s been brilliant on the pitch and given us all so many great memories makes it even harder to understand. He doesn’t deserve that reception.
“He’s got full support in the changing room and should have the same from every England fan.”
Enjoyable week playing for my country 🏴❤️ pic.twitter.com/8oHZiOlhpe
— Harry Maguire (@HarryMaguire93) March 30, 2022
Twitter users reacted as England players speak of their disgust with Harry Maguire booed by own fans…
@Varun_MUFC: Go on Harry!!!! It’s a different feeling representing your country… people here forget how pivotal were you for England in the Euros
@RangnickBall: Head Up Harry! Keep Going!
@ddogbraham: I agree, you never boo your own players! I don’t rate him but booing isn’t going to help him perform!
@theElgrunn: Don’t get this hatred of Maguire. Guy has never let our country down. Who cares what he does for United if he plays a blinder for England. Fans these days… I don’t understand
@AdamWarwick86: Because club form should be a reason why you get picked for your country.
@katieemufc: Last season, we all said we would’ve won the Europa League had Harry Maguire played and now he’s getting booed at Wembley in an England shirt after being one of the most consistent players in the team. Regardless of his form this season, no player deserves that.
@SWood18: If you booed Harry Maguire last night, then you’re thick as fuck, only explanation.
@htomufc: How is Maguire getting booed for his country when he’s started for them in a WC semi & a EUROs final whilst playing really well? Yeah his United form might not be good at all but how does that correlate to England fans booing him for his country?
@paulenglish1961: So Maguire was booed tonight. United supporters may feel like that at times but I have never witnessed it. England ‘supporters’ feel entitled to do so. I really do think a lot of modern day fans don’t understand the meaning of support.
@jonmikesav8: I’ve defended Maguire for UTD and I’ve criticised Maguire for UTD but at no point did I ever think he would get booed just playing for his country. Absolutely f**king shameful.
@jimmymcbride1: Honestly don’t think there’s much worse for a player than to be booed by his own fans & the only crime he’s committed is to have a dip in form … Maguire is one of our own & should be spared the pantomime booing from people who are supposed to be supporters of his club & country
@olpafc_: There’s no way people booed Maguire for England, he’s been absolutely unreal for England every time he’s played what is wrong with people