Harry Maguire said he can cope with the pressure of being in the spotlight for club and country after England manager Gareth Southgate condemned the “ridiculous treatment” meted out to the defender. The Manchester United centre-back won his 59th cap as a substitute in England’s 3-1 friendly win in Glasgow on Tuesday but his performance was marred by an own goal. Maguire was sarcastically cheered by Scotland fans every time he touched the ball.
“It’s a joke,” said Southgate. “I’ve never known a player treated the way he is — not by the Scottish fans, by our own commentators, pundits, whatever it is.”
Maguire, 30, has struggled for playing time at United under Erik ten Hag but has remained a regular for England, who have reached the latter stages at the past three major tournaments.
“I would not say I am a person who struggles with pressure mentally,” said Maguire, who laughed off the Scotland fans’ behaviour as “banter”.
“I have been through a lot in the last couple of years and I have been Manchester United captain for nearly four years (Bruno Fernandes is the new captain).
“You take a huge lot of responsibility and everything that comes with it and that is a lot of bad as well as good.
“But it was a huge honour and of course it is a hostile environment here, which is how I described it, and they piled pressure on myself. I would not say I am used to it but I can deal with it.”
Maguire has only made one substitute appearance for United so far this season after a move to West Ham failed to materialise.
He described his international career as a “big priority” but believes he can still justify his place in Southgate’s side by performing when selected for England.
“I considered everything and I know, at the moment, when I have not started a game in the first four games of the season, the story comes to me,” he said, referring to his club future.
“I finished off last season with two very strong performances for England and I have played in all five matches to help put us where we are in qualifying, so I need to keep performing when I get chosen.
“Listen, at club football, I want to play games, I want to play football. The first four weeks were hard because it was one game a week and the manager didn’t select me but we have lots of games coming up now and I am sure I will play lots of games.”
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