Roy Keane did not mince his words after verbally destroying Harry Maguire for his celebration after scoring the opener in England’s 5-0 win over Albania at Wembley.
It’s been a difficult few weeks for the Manchester United captain, whose poor displays have coincided with a run of bad results. Indeed, he has struggled in a United a side now nine points behind leaders Chelsea. And to make matters worse, the knives are being sharpened for under-fire manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
However, United’s players are not without criticism too. To that end, Cristiano Ronaldo has stated they need to help out their manager and take responsibility on the pitch.
As United’s captain and having cost £80m, much is expected of Maguire. However, poor displays in defeats to Leicester and Liverpool have put the focus firmly on his head.
Even so, Maguire at least looked a little more comfortable playing for England on Friday. And he managed to score the opener – an angled header past the keeper’s reach – to hand the Three Lions the lead.
And he celebrated by first cupping his ears, and then sticking his fingers in them. It was a clear message to his critics that he’s not listening to what they are saying.
However, Keane did not hold back during his punditry for ITV and labelled Maguire embarrassing.
“When a player scores puts his hands to his ears he’s like shutting the critics up. But I think that’s embarrassing. He’s been a disgrace to Man United. He thinks he scores there he’s shut his critics up, embarrassing,” Keane said.
Former Arsenal forward Ian Wright also felt the celebration sends out the wrong message.
“I don’t think he needs to do it,” he added.
“It’s something I would’ve done but you look at it now and think you don’t need to do that. You’ve got a lot of football to play. Don’t give them the opportunity to say we’ve got to them. Just play your game Harry.”
Jermain Defoe concluded: “You don’t need to do it, he’s scored the goal, it’s a good goal.
“What it does do is put a sour taste in people’s mouths, they don’t like that. What it does is give them an opportunity to wait for that bad performance to have a go at him.”
Southgate lauds England display
One man who was happy with his side’s display and Maguire’s goal was England boss Gareth Southgate.
Now, avoiding defeat away at San Marino on Monday will be enough for England to confirm their place at the 2022 World Cup.
The strides they took towards that objective at Wembley on Friday were convincing ones, particularly with the emphatic first-half performance.
Southgate thought those opening 45 minutes produced some of England’s best play for a long time.
He told ITV: “The first half was fantastic, as well as we’ve played for a long time. It was hard to maintain that.
“We’re best when we have an edge. We didn’t produce what we should against Hungary but we had a game tonight that could put us on the verge of qualification for the World Cup.”
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