The Three Lions faced Scotland at Hampden Park and dominated proceedings. Marc Guehi and Lewis Dunk looked solid as a defensive pairing, but things changed after Southgate brought on Maguire in the second half.
Andy Robertson, who was at fault for England’s second goal, bombed forward to atone for his error. His low cross was turned in by Maguire to make the score 2-1.
England made it 3-1 and sealed the victory, but Maguire’s own goal made things complicated.
With Fikayo Tomori and Levi Colwill on the bench, it was surprising to see the manager choose Maguire to go into the game.
However, Southgate remained defiant, claiming that the treatment given to Maguire had been unfair and the own goal was a result of the way he had been treated.
After the game, Southgate said (via Tim Spiers): “It’s a consequence of the ridiculous treatment of him for a long period of time.
“It’s a joke. I’ve never known a player treated like he is, not by the Scottish fans, by our own commentators, pundits, whatever it is.
“It’s beyond anything I’ve ever seen.”
It is easy to feel sympathy for Maguire as he is as incredibly down on his luck, but Southgate’s comments show he does not understand the problem here.
There is no reason why Manchester United’s fourth-choice centre-back should be playing over Tomori and Colwill.
Even if Southgate believes Maguire can turn the corner at 30, he should wait for the United defender to do it at club level before granting him underserved opportunities with the national team.
The debate surrounding Maguire’s performance and selection for the England national team continues to divide opinion.
Despite his struggles in the match against Scotland and lingering questions about his form, Southgate has passionately defended his choice to include Maguire.
While Southgate’s loyalty to his players is commendable, it’s clear that most England fans remain unconvinced.
Southgate’s faith in the player may be admirable, but it also invites never-ending scrutiny as the manager undermines himself by continuously selecting an out-of-form player.
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