Wayne Rooney leaps to the defence of Harry Maguire after he was targeted by Wembley boo boys in England’s clash with Ivory Coast… insisting the Manchester United defender is a ‘strong character’ who Gareth Southgate should NOT drop from the side
- Wayne Rooney has backed Harry Maguire after he was booed by England fans
- The Man Utd icon, who knows Maguire personally, says he is a ‘strong character’
- Rooney is also adamant that the supporters who booed him ‘are not real fans’
- He insists Maguire should remain one of the first names on England’s team sheet
Wayne Rooney insists Harry Maguire is a ‘strong character’ who should remain one of the first names on Gareth Southgate’s England team sheet despite being booed at Wembley earlier this week.
Maguire was jeered by the home crowd before and during England’s friendly against Ivory Coast on Tuesday, having kept his place in the team despite underperforming for Manchester United this season.
The hostile reception sparked outrage throughout English football, with Three Lions manager Southgate telling Sky Sports after the game: ‘I thought the reception was a joke. An absolute joke.
Wayne Rooney has backed Harry Maguire after he was booed by England fans on Tuesday
‘What he’s done for us and the way he has performed for England has been phenomenal. I don’t get it.’
Rooney is no stranger to being booed by England fans albeit as part of a team rather than individually, reacting furiously to jeers from the travelling support after their 0-0 draw with Algeria at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
He infamously looked at a TV camera and said: ‘Nice to see your own fans booing you, that’s what loyal support is.’
And speaking about Maguire’s own trouble with boos, Rooney told The Sun: ‘I’ve been there. It’s never nice when you’re booed by your own fans.
Maguire was booed by home fans throughout England’s friendly vs Ivory Coast at Wembley
Rooney infamously lashed out at Three Lions supporters for booing at the 2010 World Cup
‘Harry’s a top lad and a top professional. I know Harry personally. I spoke to him not long ago and he’s a strong character, he’s strong-minded.
‘I’ve spoken to him a few times as a friend and we’ve had a general chat, but I’m not his mentor.
‘I’m sure the people who were booing him are not real England fans. Because as a fan, you go there to get behind the team.
‘I don’t think any England fans are concerned about his form for United as long as he’s doing well for England.’
A number of fans are calling for Maguire to be dropped from the England side amid his poor form for United, which was a driving force behind the boos at Wembley on Tuesday.
The Man Utd legend is backing Maguire to remain an integral part of England’s side
But Rooney couldn’t disagree more, stressing: ‘He has to play — I know Gareth’s said that if you’re not in good form, then you won’t play for your country. But Harry Kane wasn’t in good form earlier in the season and nobody booed him or questioned why he’s playing.
‘It’s clear he’s not in the best form for Manchester United, I don’t think any of them are at United. They’re all going through a difficult time but for England he’s been incredible.
‘For me, there’s three players that have to be on the team sheet every time England play.
‘That’s Harry Kane, Maguire and Raheem Sterling — they’re the three leaders in the team. The ones Gareth Southgate relies on.’
He is urging Gareth Southgate not to drop the defender ahead of the World Cup in Qatar