Gareth Southgate attacked England supporters who booed Harry Maguire ahead of the win over Ivory Coast, while Jack Grealish called the abuse “ridiculous”.
Raheem Sterling scored one goal and set up Ollie Watkins another before Tyrone Mings headed home the final as England overcame Ivory Coast 3-0 at Wembley.
However, there was a big talking point before the game started when Maguire’s name was booed as it was read out.
The Manchester United captain is going through a difficult season with his club but Southgate calls the abuse of the player that helped England reach the World Cup semi-finals and European Championship final “a joke” .
“I thought the reception was a joke. An absolute joke,” said Southgate Sports sky. “What he has done for us and the way he has performed for England is phenomenal. I don’t understand.
“We can be together or not. He’s in the England shirt and you shouldn’t just support someone in an England shirt regardless but when he’s playing at the level he has, it has to be a full commitment after him, so I don’t get it.
“He was really faultless, came out from behind for the first goal and was involved in the second. This team is completely united. We realize everyone has difficult moments but he He is a top player and will overcome it.
“They are real England fans. And some are influenced by whatever, I don’t know if it’s social media or not, the players who have played before are influencing public opinion. … Obviously his club situation is very difficult but he is playing for England.”
“I remember a few decades ago when some players were booed for England – it was never accepted. I never understood it. Why is everyone playing better? Fans should always support their team.”
Maguire’s name was chanted during the game by supporters and Southgate accepted that was not the case for everyone turning on defenders but he insisted England would need Maguire at their best if they were to perform well in the Premier League. Qatar.
“It became the mentality of the crowd. At the end, we had a bunch of die-hard fans playing his song. I know that wasn’t everyone. But we were both. either we’re in it or we’re not,” Southgate said.
“Don’t think for a minute, the other players won’t look at it thinking, ‘it could be me someday.’ And that’s one of the problems with playing for England. The players. was thinking, ‘do I want to go because when it gets a little difficult, the crowd will reject me’. It happened to John Barnes here, it happened to Ashley Cole, to Raheem. And now Harry. They are all excellent players.
“We need Harry Maguire to play well to even have a chance to play well. We are not going to win the World Cup with players who have three or four caps. That has not happened in the history of the game. We need players with good playing experience, especially in those types of positions.
“In my opinion, he’s also the best centre-back at his club. It’s ridiculous. Every time he steps on the pitch, every action is analyzed to death. I can’t remember a player paying such attention to him.”
That sentiment was echoed by Maguire’s teammate Jack Grealish, who said the team didn’t like it.
“Personally, I think that’s ridiculous,” Grealish said. “Even tonight, he was excellent. Our first two goals, the first one he used the ball, the second one drove a little and passed it to Ollie. Not all central defenders get it. those qualities.
“He’s been a great service to his country and it’s ridiculous that he gets booed. That’s not something the team likes. Harry is a strong-minded guy. he will make the world good for him tonight It will only motivate him to speak It’s not fun to hear but you have a job to do.
“We had a great relationship with our supporters at Euro last year and we need to maintain that in the World Cup.”
With the World Cup draw taking place on Friday, Southgate says England are now in a position where they will be among the favorites to lift the trophy in Qatar.
However, he says his team will have to learn from their past mistakes – including one in a friendly against Ivory Coast.
“We are one of the teams that can win the World Cup,” said Southgate. “We have to be blameless doing that. It’s a fun group of players to work with but we have to keep pushing.
“Even today at 2-0, we fouled poorly and they could have scored from the free kick. You can’t get that distraction. But overall for the whole week, I really did. satisfaction.”
And thinking about the prospect of attending the World Cup with that possibility, Southgate said he has different feelings about the tournament than the previous 2018 World Cup.
“We now have more evidence of results and more expectations,” he said. “It’s a different kind of feeling but it’s still a tournament we all watched as children, filling the wall charts… and it was a unique opportunity to make history. That’s very exciting.”
England have signed up for the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar – but what are the key dates and times?
Who else qualified, when was the draw and who was seeded? And what’s going on with the Premier League as the World Cup rolls around?
June 4: Hungary (a)
June 8th: Germany (a)
June 11th: Italy (h)
June 14: Hungarian (h)
September 23: Italy (a)
September 26: Germany (h)