Rory McIlroy rushes to defence of Manchester United defender Harry Maguire

Rory McIlroy sides with England manager Gareth Southgate by defending Manchester United's Harry Maguire. 

Andy Roberts's picture
Thu, 14 Sep 2023
Rory McIlroy rushes to defence of Manchester United defender Harry Maguire

Rory McIlroy has rushed to the defence of Manchester United and England defender Harry Maguire after he was jeered by rival fans and then scored an own goal in a friendly match earlier this week. 

Maguire, 30, has been stripped of the Manchester United captaincy this year and he has been regularly taunted by football fans in recent months. 

Much of the scathing criticism of Maguire, without it being his own fault, was that he cost Manchester United a grand total of £80m when he joined the record 13-time Premier League winners in 2019. 

But despite now being dropped a regular starting position by Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag, the story is different on the national front as England manager Gareth Southgate has fully stuck by him.

Southgate, who is also under intense pressure by some England fans, thinks the constant criticism and mocking of Maguire is "a joke" and unlike anything we have ever seen in the professional game. 

Maguire scored an own goal in England's 3-1 victory away to Scotland in a friendly match on Tuesday night, and he was even sarcastically cheered by the Scottish fans when he came on the pitch after half time. 

The exact same thing happened when he came on the pitch in the closing stages of Manchester United's away match to Arsenal two weeks ago. 

The score was 1-1 when Maguire on the pitch, and it ended 3-1. 

But United fan McIlroy is certainly siding with Southgate when it comes to Maguire.

Speaking at this week's BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, McIlroy, who played with football legend Gareth Bale in the Pro-Am on Wednesday, said: 

"I'm sure Harry wakes up every morning, goes to work, and tries his best, just like we all do.
"When your life and career are laid bare like that and everyone sees could make 20 great passes in a game and the one pass that didn't go quite right is the one that everyone's going to concentrate on.
"It's a tough world that we live in, but unfortunately it's part of our job and being in that public spotlight. We get well rewarded for being in that public spotlight. That's the way it is.
"I do things that shield me from that, and it certainly protects my mental health. I think more and more sportspeople are getting to the point where they're doing the same thing."

McIlroy certainly tried his best on Thursday but could only card a level-par 72 in the opening round of the BMW PGA. 

The World No.2 confirmed on Wednesday that he will be playing another round of golf with Bale after returning from his mate's stag do in Mykonos next week.

European Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald has warned McIlroy to take it easy on the trip

That comes a week before the Ryder Cup

Manchester United are back in action in the Premier League against Brighton at Old Trafford this weekend.

The team desperately needs a win after a rocky start to the new season. 

Maguire, who is an avid golf fan, is in line to feature given a number of injuries in the team at the moment. 

What do you make of McIlroy's comments of Maguire? Has the Manchester United and England defender been unfairly treated by fans and the media this season? Share your thoughts and comments over on the GolfMagic social media channels. 

Take me to more golf news!