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‘I went through a difficult year’ – Harry Maguire slams critics and defends Gareth Southgate

‘I went through a difficult year’ – Harry Maguire slams critics and defends England manager Gareth Southgate for showing his support.

Maguire has reflected on what has been a challenging past few seasons he’s endured at Manchester United. But now, he believes that he is performing admirably for his club and is eagerly looking forward to representing England this summer.

During the 2021/22 season, Man Utd struggled with Maguire finding life at the Old Trafford outfit difficult after parting ways with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and only picked up 58 points in the league that campaign.

He then fell down pecking order with Erik ten Hag in charge, with Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane forming a partnership.

For 2022/23, Maguire only started eight league matches and also lost the role of captaincy. He has experienced a resurgence in the current season however and is once again finding joy in playing football.

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Maguire is set to start for England at this summer’s European Championship and he discussed the criticism he’s received in an interview with journalists.

“There’s loads of people who probably don’t think I should be in the [England] squad. There’s millions of people that think I should be,” he said to The Times.

“I went through a difficult year where a lot of scrutiny came my way. I was Manchester United captain and the team didn’t perform well.

“I had a season where I wasn’t playing as much as I’d like, Licha [Martinez] and Rapha [Varane] were playing really well and the team were keeping a lot of clean sheets. Erik was always transparent with me, he always told me he believed in me, that he felt I could be part of his starting XI.

“I feel I’m performing really well for my club. I’m mentally strong. I’ve overcome a lot. I have great belief in my ability and what I can bring to a team. I’m quite good at switching off away from football. I have a good family and friends. I play a lot of golf. I play off four. I’ve got two girls — they drive me mad!

“Gareth has shown great faith in me, trusting me throughout the time. I’ve had a great relationship with him. I’ve been a big part of the success and the progression that we’ve shown as a country.”

Maguire insinuated that playing for United entails a greater amount of pressure, further emphasising the point: “Different clubs have different scrutiny on players and that has a big aspect when fans see him [Southgate] picking a squad.

“I could have played for Leicester and had a bad game and then had six good ones, a couple of bad ones, and everyone would think I’m in amazing form. If I did that for Manchester United… it doesn’t happen like that.

“Every goal we concede is analysed, scrutiny comes and that’s the pressures of playing for Manchester United or playing for a big club. You see a lot with England careers. You get built up, built up, built up and then you’ve got to maintain that really high level to stay there otherwise you get shot down pretty quickly.

“There’s cameras everywhere and you only have to look at the previous United players who have played for the country [who were scrutinised]. Beckham had a lot. Even Wayne [Rooney] had a lot of things said [about him] and he was one of the greatest players ever to play for his country.”

England’s players want Gareth Southgate to stay for the 2026 World Cup, Harry Maguire adds.

‘Yes, definitely (we want him to stay),’ said Maguire. ‘I’ve had a great relationship with him. I’ve been a big part of the success and the progression we’ve shown as a country. I’m sure he will say the same thing now, it’s all about winning a trophy.

‘I don’t know what’s going to happen after the Euros, I don’t know if he knows what’s going to happen. But I feel like what he’s done, from when he first took over to where we are now, we’ve taken huge strides and he’s a massive part of that. If Gareth’s the man to make us be successful, then we want him to stay as long as possible.’

But Maguire countered: ‘He’s definitely got the recognition and respect of the players, everyone who has worked under him and people who are close to him, people whose opinions matter to him.

‘Listen, being the England manager is so tough, it’s one of the most scrutinised jobs in the world. Every time he picks a squad there is a massive debate – he’s done something wrong every time.

‘But all you can look at is where we were before he took over and where we are now.

‘Everyone will say, “Yeah, but we’ve got great talent coming through, better players now”. But in previous years we have also had great talent and we haven’t been successful.

‘So, I think he does deserve a lot of credit. He has taken us a long way and he fully gets the respect from all the players. If you speak to anyone they will speak highly of Gareth and his management tactically, but also his man-management as well. He’s brilliant.’

Harry Maguire also responded after the Conservative Government use his image without permission.

The Conservatives used a gone viral photo of Harry Maguire from the 2018 World Cup to promote Rishi Sunak, but the Manchester United star has insisted he did not give them permission to do so.

This came as the Government brought the Football Governance Bill to Parliament detailing how an independent regulator would prevent any future European Super League.

Maguire said: “No, they have had no permission. I didn’t even know about the advert to be honest.” When asked whether he could do a better job running the country, Maguire laughed: “No comment!”

This is how fans reacted on social media as Harry Maguire slams critics, saying ‘I went through a difficult year’, and defends Gareth Southgate…

@adamreynolds28: Never let England down. His constant criticism is the same reason Mainoo is in the England squad. The Man Utd influence. Sad really.

@woody44z: @HarryMaguire93 – he bloody should be in that squad, and no one deserves it more. Was stood in front of his family earlier in the season at OT and it meant the world to them when he scored and we sang his name. Solid. 🔴

@VR46GAZ: Hmmm i dunno about that…🤔 Fair play for keeping his chin up though…👌🏻

@coys_101: You keep telling yourself that Harry 😜

@1JonDavies1988: The disrespect he gets is incredible. Never let England down, and still nobody knocking the door down to take his place . Will start first choice in the summer and rightly so

@GraemeInguygp: Too be fair he’s actually played quite well at UTD this season. Injuries have hampered him. He’s a real threat at set pieces. It’s a shame UTD are poor at them.

@bry5913: Correct. There’s 68 million people in France all delighted.

@fenzen9: Genuinely staggered by his arrogance.

@Talkingbluds: I mean loads of people think he should be and millions think he shouldn’t

@mattblake94: I respect that Maguire actually always backs himself y’kno. I mean… TBF I think him and Stones work well together. I think that’s just obvious. I know ppl disagree tho. But I respect he backs himself. He literally cannot be dissuaded.

@mufccopley: Hasn’t done much wrong in an England shirt .. simple as that

@CBR_T2D: England has one top quality centre half in John Stones, and he’s injury prone. After that it’s a mixed bag – a weak link in the set up. Maguire is as good as anyone else to be selected in that second spot.

@mrmstoney: There’s a difference between mental health and ego. These so-called superstars are happy to take the plaudits when they are going good, but there’s a flipside to that coin and they don’t want to know. As soon as they are criticised, for poor performances, they call it unfair.

@DKenni: Ok, maybe part of it was not wanting to take a pay cut but huge respect for him fighting for his place with United. Huge improvement and hope it continues

@in50mni4: He’s definitely got that the wrong way round

@jwalker5211: Not sure about that, self importance comes to mind.

@paulMknight: Millions what a joker 🤡

@InaneGeek: He only looks average for United because they play a high line, for England as part of a back three he’s decent

@zeetoffees: Let’s just get the facts right .. your not as good as Braithwaite or stones .. you turn like the titanic .. in the last competition you kick a ball back to pickers and it went out for a corner .. and it was from the far left of the pitch which should have been the left backs posy

@John29Curtis: Millions of people think he should be….i doubt that!!!!

@TyndallPaul: Gareth Southgate stated he would only pick players who were playing regularly for their Team and were in good form. He then did the exact opposite. Undermine yourself in one easy step

@ArsenesGlasses_: Millions! 😂😂😂😂😂😂 Delusion is a funny old thing. Southgate runs the international team as a boys club, he picks his little pets, of which Maguire is clearly his favourite! Henderson! 😂 Phillips for TWO years without even playing! Laughable statement.

@kpaigex: trust me hun the millions don’t want you

@lee_samo: Wonder how he would feel if he was a young player playing every week to a high level being kept out by someone who’s been way off it for 2 years

@robjtweets: How does he know there’s Millions of people who think he should be in the #England squad? I doubt there are millions of people in total who have a view on this at all. He’s a footballer! (whose performances for club and Country the last 2 years are often poor & too inconsistent).

@Alldis21: He’s turned his form around and never let England down. So very much deserves his selection in the squad. Fair play to him! It’s a pity that it’s become popular to take the piss out of him… whatever he does!

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