February 3, 2023

‘This is a level of hate I didn’t know as a player’

Graeme Souness has hit out at the level of criticism Harry Maguire has received and has said he ‘knows nothing like the level of abuse he gets.’

Maguire has come under increasing scrutiny in recent weeks and has lost his place in the Manchester United squad, with all three of his starts coinciding with United’s three defeats this season.

Despite losing his starting spot at club level England boss Gareth Southgate stuck by his decision to include Maguire in the national team squad and started both games.

The 29-year-old gave away a penalty in the 3-3 draw against Germany, sparking more abuse online, and Souness has strongly defended the centre-back, condemning some of the comments made.

Writing in his Daily Mail column, he said: “I knew nothing like the level of abuse Harry Maguire gets. It astonishes me, even though it seems to be part of the world we now live in.

“Some of it is dished out through social media, which is a world to be avoided at all costs for players. Maguire will go on there to apologise for a Manchester United performance and then get hammered for doing so.

“Maguire is at particular risk of the kind of pile-on we’re seeing because a failing Manchester United made him the most expensive central defender in the world and then made him their captain.

“So he becomes a lightning rod for all United’s ills. All the club’s failings are piled at his door. Ridiculous. I can’t remember a game United lost because of Harry Maguire alone.”

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Harry Maguire

Souness took aim at the online abuse in particular and labelled those critiquing the defender as “keyboard warriors.”

“I particularly despise the keyboard warriors we have now,” he added.

“Faceless pygmies who will write abuse about someone, knowing that they will never be confronted. Knowing no one will ever find out who they are and who is spouting all this vile hate.”

Maguire has been ruled out of today’s (Sunday October 2) Manchester derby through injury.

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