Roy Keane has taken aim at England manager Gareth Southgate, accusing him of “picking and choosing” when to support his players after his fans booed Harry Maguire at Wembley on Tuesday.
Southgate came out in staunch defence of the centre-back, labelling the reaction from home supporters during the Three Lions’ 3-0 friendly win against Ivory Coast as “an absolute joke”.
However, Keane believes the former Middlesbrough boss made it “a bigger story than it is” and questioned why he had not offered the same support to other players in the past.
Speaking during ITV’s post-match coverage of the game, the former Manchester United captain said:
“Every player gets booed. There will be idiots at football matches – England has a lot of idiots.
“Gareth could have easily said tonight ‘, it is no big deal. He played well tonight. Just focus on that.
“He is almost picking and choosing when to support his players. [Raheem] Sterling had a bust-up two or three years ago and was bombed out of the squad. He’s left other players out.
“I remember when [Maguire] was sent off last year against Denmark.
“And [Southgate] didn’t support him when he was walking off the pitch.
“I think he has made it a bigger story than it is. So just get on with the game.
“He played well, and he will get fans back on side with his performances.
“Not by people reacting to a few boos or social media.
“Be big enough and man enough to get on with the game.”
Maguire posted a message on Twitter on Wednesday morning simply saying, “Enjoyable week playing for my country.”
The United defender has had public support from a number of England teammates since the game, with Jack Grealish, Declan Rice, Jordan Henderson and Harry Kane among those who have criticised the fan reaction.
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