Arsenal star and ex-Liverpool striker launch defence of under-fire Man Utd man Harry Maguire

Aaron Ramsdale and Michael Owen have joined England boss Gareth Southgate in publicly defending Harry Maguire
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Arsenal star Aaron Ramsdale and former Liverpool and Manchester United striker Michael Owen have publicly defended Harry Maguire’s continued inclusion in the England squad.

The United defender has yet to start a game at club level this season but was introduced at half time in England’s 3-1 win over Scotland at Hampden Park on Tuesday night. He also played the full game as the Three Lions drew 1-1 against Ukraine on Saturday.

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Maguire was heckled by the Scotland crowd after his introduction and then turned the ball into his own net past Ramsdale before Harry Kane sealed a 3-1 victory for the Three Lions.

England boss Gareth Southgate launched a passionate defence of the United man after the fixture, with Ramsdale echoing those sentiments.

Southgate said on Tuesday night: “I’ve never known a player treated the way he is. He’s been an absolute stalwart for us in the second most successful England team for decades - he’s been an absolutely key part of that.

“I’ve talked about the importance of our senior players, he’s been crucial among that. Every time he goes on the field, the resilience he shows is absolutely incredible. He’s a top player and we’re all with him and our fans were brilliant with him.”

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Ramsdale said: “Harry Maguire has had criticism for the past 18 months, two years. It hasn’t affected him. His performances for England have been nigh on outstanding, that’s why he keeps getting picked and played. Simple as that.

“I don’t think a few whistles and groans from the fans are going to change his mindset. He had 45 minutes in a game where I thought he played well, kept the ball for us and one unfortunate own goal, if you want to call it that, and people are going to start talking about him and I don’t think it’s needed.

“People will say he’s come on and scored an own goal, but if he has any doubt in his mind, I want my defender to try to clear it. It’s a cross-shot, he’s tried to deal with it and eight times out of 10 it goes behind for a corner or he clears it.

“Every time he touched the ball the crowd got up and made noises and he dealt with it extremely well, played some lovely passes. I thought he accompanied Lewis (Dunk) and rest of the back four really well. Yeah, I’d want him to do that again 10 times over.”

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Taking to X, formerly Twitter, Owen called the ridicule of Maguire ‘sad’.

He wrote: “I’ve long wondered why Harry Maguire gets so much abuse and I’m pleased Gareth Southgate has said what he’s said. I don’t know him that well personally but he’s a very good player and he appears to be a decent person. He’s never let England down yet he seems to be ridiculed constantly. Very sad.”

Owen spent three seasons at Old Trafford between 2009 and 2012, scoring a memorable winning goal in a 4-3 victory over Manchester City in 2009. United are back in action against Brighton and Hove Albion this weekend.

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