Mikel Arteta thinks England fans booing Harry Maguire is counterproductive

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta thinks England fans booing Harry Maguire over his performance for Manchester United is counterproductive.

National team boss Gareth Southgate called it an “absolute joke” after United’s centre-back was abused in this week’s 3-0 friendly win over Ivory Coast at Wembley.

Maguire appears to have been targeted after criticizing the way he has performed for his club this season, but Arteta insists the defender will only make things worse.

“Obviously they have the freedom to express whatever they want, but if you ask anyone connected with football how you’re going to get the best out of a player, it’s obviously totally against the odds that the player improves if he gets booed,” he said.

“It’s something I think we would all agree on: you want the best for your team, the best for your national team, obviously that won’t help the player individually, which won’t help the team collectively.”

Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers, who worked under Maguire for three months before he was sold to United for a record £80million for a defender, agreed.

“My question would be, how does that help a player? I found that disappointing for him,” the Foxes boss said.

“Maybe it’s just the modern world, patience is short now. It doesn’t benefit any player: if you’re there to support, you support through good and bad sides.

“He’s a brilliant guy, a great player and he’s got the tools to overcome it. He’s a resilient guy.”

Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira has also backed Maguire, who has 42 England caps and featured in a World Cup semi-final and Euro 2020 final last summer, to overcome abuse .

“I’m sure he has the strength to bounce back and show how good he is. I don’t think he should be too worried about that,” Vieira said.

“The concern is how you play on the pitch and there is a way for him to win the fans back, playing for the national team and he has done that very well.

“The important message was from the manager who said under him he was still performing well and he was happy with his performance and that was the most important thing to keep in mind.”

England keeper Nick Pope, centre, said the team were surprised by boos from Harry Maguire (Mike Egerton/PA)

Maguire’s England team-mate Nick Pope, who played in the game against Ivory Coast, said the team were surprised by the reaction at the time.

“It was something that came as a surprise to me and to all the players I think,” said the Burnley keeper.

“A player for England who has been outstanding; I think player of the tournament at the 2018 World Cup, player of the tournament at the Euros a few months ago really, and what the England team has achieved in recent years hasn’t really been seen from my living.

Former Watford England manager Roy Hodgson felt the blame lies with the fans.

“(I) haven’t seen anything to warrant a criticism of Maguire other than the fact that Manchester United fans are unhappy that their team are losing,” he said.

“In that case, I would have to say to all the fans out there ‘grow up’ because if you want to support football, sometimes your team is going to win and sometimes your team is going to lose.”

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