Gareth Southgate blasted as ‘cowardly’ for Harry Maguire comments

Football Digest: Maguire 'needs saving from himself'

England boss Gareth Southgate has been branded a coward after refusing to blame Manchester United fans for ruining Harry Maguire’s confidence. The Red Devils defender has endured a dramatic fall from grace over the last two seasons but has stayed in the England squad despite tumbling down the pecking order at Old Trafford.

Maguire was on the receiving end of loud boos against Scotland on Tuesday night before he scored an own goal to make matters worse. The frosty reception he received left Southgate furious after the final whistle, with the England boss calling out ‘idiots’ in the media for creating a hostile environment.

“The reaction tonight is a consequence of idiots really from our side who have created that environment,” argued Southgate. “So what I think was brilliant tonight was our fans who were here recognised that they’re going to protect their own. We should be doing that.

“We’re creating a problem for our own player. Some of the articles that were written, some of the comments that were made, were an absolute joke.”

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Southgate has since been accused of being ‘cowardly’ by outspoken pundit Simon Jordan, who believes the blame should be pointed at United and England fans rather than those in the media.

“I’m not quite sure why Gareth felt the need to address it yesterday, because the more you address it, the more you amplify it as people will be defiant,” said Jordan on talkSPORT.

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“I don’t understand where he is going with that. You can turn around and diminish the argument by not having it and not giving it the credence. At the end of the day destructive voices in the background will only become louder and more vociferous if you amplify it.

“There is an element of vitriol to Southgate in that mix as well. If there was a complete and utter buy in to Southgate this would be less of an issue as well. Gareth aiming barbs at people who are faceless and can’t name, suggesting pundits and commentators are the reason for this is slightly cowardly, because he knows it is the fans.

“He knows ultimately it is the United fans who started this wildfire, the England fans have jumped on it and the Scotland fans think it is funny to do it in this particular game. The reality is he goes for a soft target and blames the media.”

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