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Monday, October 2, 2023

Maguire can handle ‘pressure’ from mocking rival fans

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Harry Maguire (right) scored an own goal in England’s 3-1 friendly win over Scotland (ANDY BUCHANAN)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.”The 30-year-old 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 skipper).”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.”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.”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.”Maguire’s mother Zoe said on Instagram that the abuse the defender receives had gone “far beyond ‘football'”.”As a mum, seeing the level of negative and abusive comments which my son is receiving from some fans, pundits and the media is disgraceful and totally unacceptable to any walk of life, never mind someone who works his socks off for club and country.”kca-jw/smg/ea

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