Harry Maguire
Harry Maguire has been the subject of regular criticism in recent times from fans and pundits with many feeling he should not be playing for England. Alberto Lingria/Reuters

England manager Gareth Southgate has expressed frustration and anger over the way England and Manchester United centre-back Harry Maguire has been treated of late. The defender was a second-half-substitute in England's 3-1 win over arch-rivals Scotland in a friendly at Hampden Park.

Maguire's introduction to the game was met with jeers and mockery from the Scotland fans, and matters worsened for the defender, as midway through the second half, he put the ball through his own net to allow Scotland back into the game.

The own goal was a result of Maguire attempting to intercept a low cross from Scotland captain Andy Robertson, but due to a lack of communication with goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, the ball nestled into the back of the net.

Luckily for Maguire, England managed to score another goal thanks to captain Harry Kane, which made it 3-1 to the Three Lions and put the game out of Scotland's reach. Kane's exit from the game shortly afterwards meant Maguire closed the game out as captain, in a moment that would have perhaps restored his confidence after his own-goal error.

After the match Southgate spoke on the criticism of Maguire, stating: "I've never known a player treated the way he is. He's been an absolute stalwart for us in the second most successful England team for decades — he's been an absolutely key part of that."

The England boss went on to add: "From a Scotland fans' point of view I get it. But it's a consequence of ridiculous treatment of him for a long period of time. It's a joke. Not by the Scottish fans but by our own commentators, pundits or whatever it is."

Ramsdale also came out in support of Maguire, saying after the game "I can sympathise with him in a way because I've been on the other end of the Premier League fighting to stay up and I've been relegated twice. He's always a threat at set pieces, he knows he can defend, he knows he's a leader and I love playing with him".

Maguire has struggled for regular playing time at Manchester United since Erik ten Hag took over at Old Trafford last season. After initially starting two games under the Dutchman in the 2022/2023 campaign, Maguire was dropped due to his poor performances in defeats to Brighton and Brentford.

Since then, Maguire has not been able to dislodge Manchester United's current favoured starting centre-backs Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez. He has even found himself in the pecking order behind Victor Lindelof and left-back Luke Shaw, who has been favoured over him at centre-back on a few occasions.

To add to his playing-time struggles with the Red Devils, Maguire was also stripped of the club captaincy going into this season, as Bruno Fernandes took over as skipper given he was a much more prominent starter under ten Hag. Maguire's only appearance so far this season for Manchester United came when he was brought on as a substitute in a 3-1 loss to Arsenal.

Southgate is known to be loyal to players who have served him well and performed at major tournaments under his tenure, with Maguire being one of them. However, If Maguire continues to not be picked for his club, it will be interesting to see if he remains in Southgate's core plans when the European Championships kick off in Germany next summer.

A solution to Maguire's lack of playing time would have been to move this past summer transfer window, and there was a possibility of moving to West Ham United but that potential move broke down in the end. Maguire may have to seek a way out of Manchester United when the January transfer window opens if he wants to secure his spot in the England side for the foreseeable future.

There is increasing pressure from fans and sections of the media for Southgate to drop Maguire due to his lack of playing time with his club, so if Maguire continues to not play regularly for Manchester United, complaints will only grow. This is especially due to there being a crop of young and talented centre-backs such as Levi Colwill, Fikayo Tomori and Marc Guehi, in good form and being viewed as better options than Maguire.

Aside from the Maguire matter, it was a positive night for England in Glasgow as young stars Phil Foden and Jude Bellingham were among the scorers in a mostly comfortable win for the Three Lions.

Bellingham was particularly impressive as he also dominated the midfield battle and set up Kane's goal after going on a surging run and playing a perfectly weighted pass to the striker. This follows up on his impressive start to life at Real Madrid, where he has netted five goals in just four games for the Spanish giants and was named La Liga's best player for August.