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England manager Gareth Southgate slams Harry Maguire critics amid Manchester United 'agenda'

Published on: 23 September 2022

England manager Gareth Southgate has defended Harry Maguire over what he believes is an "agenda" against the Manchester United captain. Maguire, 29, was selected by Southgate on Friday night as the Three Lions took on Italy in their latest Nations League showdown.

Having started the first two Premier League games this season - when United were soundly beaten - Maguire has since been dropped by Erik ten Hag with Raphael Varane and summer signing Lisandro Martinez preferred. But with limited options and John Stones banned, England were forced to call upon Maguire once again in Milan.

According to Southgate, though, that selection was fully justified owing to the form Maguire has shown during his reign as England manager. In that time, the £80million signing has been a central figure during impressive runs to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals in Russia and Euro 2020 showpiece last summer.

Maguire has been heavily criticised for his performances at United over the last 18 months but, while he has never let England down, the 29-year-old has not entirely been protected on international duty - and was subjected to boos earlier in the calendar year while representing his country.

During his pre-match interview, England manager Southgate said: " We have had four or five we have selected and are a little bit undercooked with the matches that they have had. But there has also been a big agenda with Harry Maguire against him and I have never known a player to receive the treatment that he has."

Southgate added: "He has been a crucial part of us getting to a World Cup semi-final - and was named in the Team of the Tournament at the Euros. Across that period, was probably our most important player in that time."

Source: m.allfootballapp.com

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