Michail Antonio has risen to the defense of Manchester United defender Harry Maguire, following the criticisms the Englishman has received recently.
Maguire has faced persistent criticism since he joined Manchester United on August 5, 2019, from Leicester City for €87 million.
Harry Maguire has fallen below the pecking order at Old Trafford, below Victor Lindelof, Lisandro Martinez, Rafael Varane, and even left-back Luke Shaw.
The 30-year-old also lost his captaincy role at Manchester United in the summer of 2023, following a confirmation statement released by the club on July 20, 2023.
Southgate keeps faith with Maguire
Despite his dysfunctional status at club level, Gareth Southgate has still kept faith with the defender for international action.
He was selected by Southgate for England in the last international break and his inclusion in the squad made many fans angry.
The former Hull City defender played the entire duration of the Three Lions Euro 2024 qualification encounter against Ukraine, which ended 1-1.
Harry Maguire also played for 45 minutes in England’s friendly against Scotland, and despite the victory, his own goal in the 67th minute of proceedings generated deafening reactions.
Many rained abuses on the England international, as they see him as the weakest link in their side’s defense.
Supporters of Scotland loudly booed Maguire, every time he touched the ball after he came on for Marc Guehi in the second 45.
Fans also continued to direct abuses at the Englishman after the games, particularly due to the own goal he scored.
Michail Antonio has expressed that the truckload of criticisms and abuses that Harry Maguire has received is unfair and he has sent his support to the defender.
Maguire was close to joining Antonio’s West Ham this summer, but issues regarding finances amongst other issues hampered the deal from happening.
Michail Antonio on the criticisms Harry Maguire has received
In a podcast, Michail Antonio shared his thoughts concerning the way fans have treated the former Manchester United captain.
Michail Antonio termed their treatment of the defender as “embarrassing” and he also accused fans of going overboard with their criticisms.
Speaking with Footballers’ Football Podcast, Antonio said: “I’ve never seen this ever in football, how one person can be absolutely destroyed any time he does anything wrong, [even when] it’s not his fault and he’s just involved in it.”
The Jamaican also said that people tend to forget that Maguire is human and his mental health is subject to a lot of strain due to such abuses.
He said: “People do forget that people are human and obviously this will affect them mentally.
“He went from being an unbelievable center-half, I think one of the best in the Premier League when he was at Hull and Leicester, to half a man.
“Michail Antonio also praised England manager Gareth Southgate for defending Maguire but claimed “It should have been brought up before. It’s been a whole two years.”
England’s highest-scoring defender, Harry Maguire
Harry Maguire is England’s highest-scoring defender in history, with 7 goals in 59 appearances, since he made his debut on October 8, 2017.
The 30-year-old has been prone to error in recent seasons, which some noted that it could be due to his lack of confidence.
Maguire’s rapid fall from being one of the best defenders in the Premier League to being a defender surplus to requirements has been shocking to many.
Harry Maguire has made only 1 appearance this season, coming on in Manchester United’s 3-1 loss to Arsenal.
He was also criticized for his performance in that game after Mikel Arteta’s side scored two goals following his introduction.