Booing Harry Maguire an ‘absolute joke’, says Gareth Southgate

England boss Gareth Southgate called the booing of defender Harry Maguire in their 3-0 friendly victory over the Ivory Coast “an absolute joke”.

Some fans mocked when the Manchester United captain’s name was read aloud before kick-off at Wembley.

Maguire had a difficult season with his club but was a pillar of the English team as they reached the World Cup semi-finals and the Euro final.

“The reception was a joke, an absolute joke,” said Southgate.

“I don’t know how it benefits anybody. We’re either all in it together or we’re not,” he added.

“I imagine if you asked a few of them why they did it they probably wouldn’t even be able to answer. It’s mob mentality. One end of the ground you have a hardcore group trying to get his name sung – it wasn’t everybody.

“Players will look at that and think, that could be me. It makes players not want to come. That happened with John Barnes here, that happened with Ashley Cole a couple of times, it happened with Raheem, now Harry.

“We need Harry to do well. We aren’t going to win a World Cup with a load of players with three or four caps. That’s never happened in the history of the game.”

Speaking to Sky Sports about Maguire, Southgate added: “The way he has performed for us has been absolutely phenomenal. I don’t get it.

“He’s in an England shirt and not only should you support a player in an England shirt regardless, but when you’ve played at the level he has for us – and put the performances in he has – it should be total commitment behind him.

“His performance was pretty faultless really. He stepped out from the back really well for the first goal, was involved in the second one too. The team are totally united. We recognise everyone has difficult moments, but he’s a top player and he will come through it.

“They are real England fans and some are influenced by whatever – social media or players that played previously who are influencing opinion. The club situation is obviously very difficult, but he’s in an England shirt.

“I remember decades ago a few players being booed in an England shirt and it’s never been acceptable to me. Fans should always get behind their team.”