Harry Maguire believes pile on helps takes pressure off England teammates

Harry Maguire says he is happy to be a lightning rod of abuse from opposition supporters while playing for England and insists he can deal with the jeers.

The Manchester United centre-back sounds like he is holding on to his England position for dear life, but nobody is saying a pile on of this nature is easy to deal with. It’s not and Maguire has had to put up with it non-stop for years.

“It pretty much takes the pressure away from my teammates and puts it all on myself,” Maguire said, as per Evening Standard. “It makes them play better, for sure.

“It is a little bit of banter and it is a hostile environment, coming away to Scotland. We wanted to put on a performance and we have dominated from start to finish.

“”We have given them a goal, which is a bit unfortunate you could say. But it was a great reaction from us all. We stayed calm, we stayed composed.

“When you hear the national anthem and the way they disrespect that, we knew it would be hostile and in the second half I got most of it. I am happy to go with that, don’t worry about that.”

Rumours of a move away from United in the summer to West Ham quickly became stories of a deal falling through as Maguire decided he was better served staying and fighting for his place at Old Trafford. This came much to the fans bemusement.

On that matter, Maguire added: “We just didn’t come to an agreement [to leave the club] and they were happy for me to stay and I was happy to fight for my place.

“I want to do that and every time I train or play I will give everything.

“Of course, my England career is a big priority. And so is my club career. I considered everything and I know, at the moment, when I have not started a game in the first four games of the season, the story comes to me.

“I finished off last season with two very strong performances for England and I have played in all five matches to help put us where we are in qualifying, so I need to keep performing when I get chosen.

“Listen, at club football, I want to play games, I want to play football. The first four weeks were hard because it was one game a week and the manager didn’t select me but we have lots of games coming up now and I am sure I will play lots of games.

“I don’t think [I am rusty]. I had a really positive performance in Ukraine and was really happy with my performance there. I spoke with the manager and the staff and they were really happy too. I went straight into that having only played a little bit at Arsenal but listen, of course you want to play week-in week-out and when you get that rhythm, it helps.

“But honestly, I feel good. I felt good in the Ukraine game and I felt good in the second half. Little things can go against you and one moment went against me. That is part and parcel of a defender.”

Maguire has said it is too early to be concerned about his England place at next summer’s European Championship and is sure he will play “lots of games” this season.

“It is way too far too away to consider [missing out],” he said. “I take everything as each week goes by.”

The centre-back scored an own goal in England’s 3-1 win over Scotland during the week at Hampden Park. He was targeted by the home fans after coming on at half-time and, after the friendly, Gareth Southgate came out with a passionate defence which has since been criticised by Simon Jordan.

“I would not say I am a person who struggles with pressure mentally, I have been through a lot in the last couple of years and I have been Manchester United captain for nearly four years,” added Maguire, who was stripped of the United captaincy in July.

“You take a huge lot of responsibility and everything that comes with it and that is a lot of bad as well as good. But it was a huge honour and of course, it is a hostile environment here, and they piled pressure on myself. I would not say I am used to it but I can deal with it.”

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