Fans who ‘bullied’ Man Utd and England World Cup star Harry Maguire ‘must feel ashamed’, says Patrice Evra
Patrice Evra says fans who ‘bullied’ Manchester United defender Harry Maguire ‘must feel ashamed’ following his performances for England at the World Cup.
Maguire has put his inconsistent club form to one side to emerge as one of England’s best players in Qatar.
The Three Lions boast one of the best defensive records in the tournament, having conceded just two goals during the group stage.
While Maguire has been a consistent performer for England – helping Gareth Southgate’s side reach the semi-finals of the World Cup in 2018 and the Euro 2020 final – his place in the squad was questioned ahead of Qatar.
Maguire has endured a turbulent spell at Manchester United since his £80m move from Leicester City in 2019 and was dropped by Red Devils boss Erik ten Hag earlier in the season.
But Evra believes valid criticism of Maguire turned into ‘bullying’ and says fans and pundits were ‘unfairly’ targeting him.
Given Maguire’s rough ride at United, Evra is delighted to see the 29-year-old starring in England’s World Cup campaign, claiming fans who criticised him must now feel ‘ashamed’.
Evra told Betfair: ‘Harry Maguire has never disappointed in this England team. He never lets England down, so that’s why he plays.
‘So those fans who didn’t want him to play must feel ashamed of themselves now. United fans can have a say about Maguire, but England fans can’t have a say about Maguire.
‘I’m so pleased with Maguire’s upturn in form because at one point, he started to get bullied. It wasn’t fair.
‘Even when he was playing a good game for Man United, people would say he had a bad game and when he wasn’t playing, if we conceded a goal it was because Maguire was in the stands smiling. Like, come on.
‘It shows the quality of the player, it shows how much he loves his country, it shows he can handle the pressure with England.
‘With what’s happening at Man United, people tried to apply the same pressure on him with England and it didn’t work.
‘I see many players who perform well for the club and they don’t perform well for their country. But some players perform well for their country and they don’t perform for their club.
‘That’s where Maguire is right now. This is good news for Man United because when he goes back to United, I hope he has the same attitude, the same discipline and to make sure when people talk, he thinks, “I’m a good player, I’m a good centre-back, I know what I can do”.
‘Southgate has given Maguire credit and confidence and maybe with Erik ten Hag, Maguire doesn’t have the same confidence he had with the previous manager.
‘Maybe his confidence is a little bit low. Southgate, the way he’s protected him, Maguire should be saying thanks to Southgate.
‘Many managers would sometimes listen to the papers, listen to pundits and drop Maguire because he wasn’t playing well for Man United.
‘That would have been easy for Southgate, but he knows Maguire is a key player in the defence for England. That’s why he can’t drop him.’
After securing top spot in Group B with seven points from three games, England now face African champions Senegal for a place in the quarter-finals in Qatar.
Manchester United legend Evra expects the Three Lions to advance but has warned Gareth Southgate that the Senegal clash represents a ‘big trap’.
‘Senegal have many players who play in Europe and this makes a difference,’ the former France international added.
‘The difference for this game will be if England put more passion and heart than Senegal then they will win the game. If England fail at being focused then Senegal will upset England, definitely. It’s a big trap.
‘England will have to be 100% focused, they have to be on top of their game. Then they can beat Senegal.
‘I’m certain Southgate will make sure his team doesn’t fall in the trap. The trap is real. I will be happy if any team wins, but of course, it would be a really proud moment if Senegal beat England.’
MORE : Gabriel Jesus says Erik ten Hag has new mentality monster at Man Utd
MORE : Paul Merson says England star should have dropped himself at the World Cup
For more stories like this, check our sport page.
Follow Metro Sport for the latest news on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.