Le Tissier tells Southgate to ‘pick players on form’ amid Maguire backlash

Lewis Oldham
Le Tissier on Maguire

After Harry Maguire was booed by England fans, Southampton legend Matt Le Tissier has suggested that Gareth Southgate should “pick players on form”.

Manchester United have struggled this season and Maguire is one of their players who has underperformed.

The defender had played well for the Red Devils prior to the 2021/22 campaign but his performances have declined.

The 14 Englishmen with over 3000 minutes of football this season

Maguire was still selected by Southgate for England’s fixtures during this international break. He started against the Ivory Coast on Tuesday.

The 29-year-old performed well as England beat their African opponents 3-0 at Wembley.

Before the game got underway, Maguire was booed by a section of England’s supporters.

Southgate did not understand these jeers as Maguire has been “absolutely phenomenal” for England:

“I thought the reception was a joke, an absolute joke. The way he has performed for us has been absolutely phenomenal. I don’t get it. We’re either all in this together or we’re not,” Southgate said (quotes via BBC Sport).

“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. I don’t get it at all.

“His performance was pretty faultless really. He stepped out from the back really well for his first goal, was involved in the second one too. So, yeah. 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. A 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.”

In response to the boos, Le Tissier suggested via Twitter that fans should be “allowed an opinion”:

“If Gareth Southgate doesn’t want fans booing his players, then he should stick to what he said when he took on the job, that he would pick players on form for their clubs.

“Oh and the fans pay their money to watch so they’re allowed an opinion I’d say.”