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England’s Maguire defends goal celebration criticized by former players


England’s Maguire defends goal celebration criticized by former players.

English defender Harry Maguire defended celebrating his goal during Friday’s World Cup qualifying win over Albania, which the former players described as exaggerated and unnecessary after their poor performances for Manchester United.

England beat Albania 5-0 at all but qualify – Hunde-Albania-idUKL4N2S34GN for the World Cup after Maguire opened the scoring with a header in the ninth minute, celebrating with a knee slip while covering his ears with his fingers as if to shut out his critics.

The center-back has come under fire after United lost back-to-back home games to rivals Liverpool and Manchester City to drop to sixth place in the Premier League.

The former United captain turned expert Roy Keane repeatedly described the celebration as “embarrassing”, while former England striker Jermain Defoe said the celebration left a “sour taste in people’s mouths”.

“No, it wasn’t directed at anyone, it was a knee slip, obviously I put my hands on my ears,” Maguire said in a post-match interview.

“I am the captain of Manchester United, of course, I will receive criticism when the team is not well. I hope that, but it was not directed at anyone.

“Scoring for your country is a great feeling. The first goal in a crucial tie, we knew how important the game was … how important the first goal was.”

England manager Gareth Southgate was pleased with Maguire’s performance and said he had a chat with him earlier this week, which helped the defender “change focus” before international games.

“Are you a Hulk Hogan fan? I don’t know what the celebration was for. He’s a fabulous player … he was on the Euro team of the tournament,” Southgate said.

“He was quick to come back because he is the type of player who has a great conscience to help his club. There are a lot of players who hide in the treatment room when there is pressure.”

“He hasn’t done that and I have great respect for that, but you can go to games that are not fully fit and you are judged as fully fit at those times.”


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