Manchester United defender Harry Maguire was unhappy with the referee’s decision to award North Macedonia a penalty against England in their 1-1 draw on Monday night.
The November international break is over as far as the Three Lions are concerned. Another unbeaten qualifying campaign for Gareth Southgate, and Marcus Rashford got back on the pitch after his knock in last week’s win over Malta.
While Rashford came off the bench in the second half to play approximately 10 minutes, Harry Maguire played the entire game. The centre-back was fortunate not to give away a penalty after a nightmare moment which saw him bring down a North Macedonia player seconds after giving the ball away.
It was the kind of moment Maguire is trying to avoid after trying to play out from the back. His long pass was intercepted and fed to Elif Elmas, who was through on goal. However, Maguire brought the Napoli forward down before he could get a shot off at goal.
However, speaking to Sky Sports after the game, Maguire admitted he was frustrated after a tough game.
“Frustrating [the game] to play in,” Maguire said in his post-match interview. “The referee gave them a goal and then it’s tough when you go a goal behind.
“Great character from the lads in the second half. It was a young side out there and we showed good spirit, good fight and on another day we win the game comfortably. We dominated the game, we controlled the game from start to finish.
“We had a couple of moments where we were a little bit sloppy with the ball, myself included, but we’ll learn a lot and move forward.”
England found themselves 1-0 down in the first half, with the home side being given a penalty in controversial fashion. Man City defender Rico Lewis made his debut for the Three Lions but VAR deemed the 18-year-old to have fouled Aberdeen’s Bojan Miovski by putting his hand in his face as he jumped for the ball.
Maguire was asked about the incident when he replied: “It was a crazy decision. I’ve said it for numerous months that it’s [VAR] making life harder for defenders.
“Even in the Premier League, week-in week-out we’re playing against top quality players and forwards but we can’t move our body. We can’t defend, we can’t make contact and you can’t put your arms out. For me it’s never a penalty. I think Rico reacted really, really well from it.”
Get the latest Manchester United news, opinion, interviews and exclusive features with the Stretty Newsletter – Ad Free! Kick off your afternoon with the Stretty News verdict on all matters Manchester United.