England defender Harry Maguire claims his celebration in their 5-0 victory over Albania on Friday night “wasn’t directed at anyone”.
Maguire slid on his knees and cupped his hands behind his ears in a combative celebration to his goal in Friday night’s World Cup qualifier, leaving the television pundits to produce a withering assessment.
Maguire’s celebration was interpreted as hitting out at his critics from Manchester United’s poor form, that has put Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s job on the line with the Red Devils slipping to sixth in the Premier League table.
And that left an infuriated ex-United star Roy Keane to pull no punches in his half-time analysis.
“I think he puts his hands to his ears like he’s shut the critics up but I think that’s embarrassing,” Keane told ITV.
“He’s been a disgrace the last few months for Manchester United. If he thinks he scores he’s going to shut his critics up…embarrassing.”
Maguire’s antics left the clutch of ex-England stars analysing the encounter at best underwhelmed.
“You don’t need to do it,” Ian Wright told ITV. “It’s something I probably would have done but you look at it now and think you don’t need that because you’ve got a lot of football to play.
“Don’t give them the opportunity to say you’ve got to him, just play your game Harry.”
“That’s embarrassing, he’s been a disgrace the last few months for Man Utd.”
— ITV Football (@itvfootball) November 12, 2021
Jermain Defoe insisted Maguire’s attitude could leave supporters with a dim view of his approach.
“You don’t need to do it, you’ve scored the goal, it’s a good goal,” Defoe told ITV.
“What it does is put a sour taste in people’s mouths. I don’t like that. It gives people the opportunity to wait for that bad performance again, to have a go at him.”
But Maguire insisted that he wasn’t directing his celebration at anyone as he knows to expect criticism while playing for Man Utd.
“No it wasn’t directed at anyone,” Maguire told ITV Sport. “It was a knee slide, obviously I put my hands on my ears, but of course it’s not.
“I’m Manchester United captain, of course I’m going to get criticism when the team isn’t doing well. I fully expect that, but of course it’s not directed at anyone.”