“People forget that” – Theo Walcott weighs in on Harry Maguire criticism

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Retired England footballer Theo Walcott has become the latest name to give his thoughts on the relentless criticism Harry Maguire receives.

Arguably one of football’s most heavily scrutinised players, Maguire, 30, has endured a torrid few years.

Despite losing his place, and captaincy, at Manchester United, the 30-year-old has managed to stay in Gareth Southgate’s England plans, and that has sparked a wave of fan anger and confusion.

Baffled by how Southgate can continually select a senior player who gets such little game time at club level, fans have questioned the motives behind the England manager’s decision.

And although Maguire did not start during last night’s international friendly against Scotland, the centre-back still found his way into the headlines.

Coming off the bench with just over 30 minutes to play, Maguire brutally, and rather unluckily, converted an own goal.

Inevitably sparking even more criticism from fans and pundits, Southgate was quick to publicly defend United’s number five.

“It’s a joke,” Southgate said when questioned on the criticism Maguire receives, as quoted by BBC Sport.

“Not by the Scottish fans but by our own commentators, pundits or whatever it is. They’ve created something that’s beyond anything I have ever seen.

“I think our fans recognised, ‘OK there might be a bit of heat from our own supporters but we’re not going to have others getting into him’.”

And reacting to Southgate’s comments, Walcott has become the latest big-name to offer his support to United and England’s struggling defender.

“He’s playing for England at the highest level out of a certain amount of people that actually play for England – that’s an incredible achievement, it really is – people forget that,” the ex-Arsenal winger told Sky Sports.

“And I think he’s actually one of the highest goalscoring centre-backs as well, and people tend to forget that as well.

“There’s this sort of mark on him, I don’t know, I don’t see it. Gareth [Southgate] picks his teams. Essentially we got to trust Gareth, so for me, we just have to get off Harry’s back.”

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