Manchester United v Manchester City Match in Pictures
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Aston Villa hero Gabriel Agbonlahor has accused former Manchester United captain Roy Keane of bullying Harry Maguire after his comments following the England defender’s celebration against Albania. Maguire and his United team-mates have been subjected to fierce scrutiny after a series of poor results, but England boss Gareth Southgate has jumped to his defence this week.
Liverpool and Manchester City both left Old Trafford with resounding victories in recent weeks, putting Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his players under pressure.
Southgate showed faith in the centre-back though, and he was amongst the goals as England trounced Albania 5-0 on Friday.
Maguire did raise eyebrows when he wheeled away celebrating with fingers in his ears, appearing to block out his growing pack of critics.
Keane was less than impressed, branding the defender an ‘embarrassment’ in a textbook, strongly-worded rant.
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“He thinks he’s shutting the critics up, but I think it’s embarrassing,” Keane said on ITV.
“He’s been a disgrace the last couple of months for Man United. He thinks if he scores there, he’s going to shut his critics up.”
Indeed, Maguire does have more work to do when he returns to Old Trafford to resume Premier League duties, but Agbonlahor feels as though he has been harshly treated.
In a passionate defence, he told talkSPORT: “I’ve seen the quotes and the video of it from Roy Keane and I think Roy Keane is being a big bully, there.
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“I think he’s bullying him because Harry Maguire has been under a lot of pressure after some not very good performances for Manchester United.
“This was the next game available to prove that he’s a good centre-half.
“Yes, it’s Albania but, still, we had a job to do. He scores, the excitement of scoring – you’re going to celebrate.”
Realising he has people on his side may come as a welcome morale boost for Maguire ahead of England’s next outing, as well as United’s upcoming date with Watford.
And if that was not enough, Three Lions boss Southgate has shared kind words in the wake of Keane’s scathing attack.
“Well he is a fantastic footballer,” he said.
“He’s been such an important part of what we have done over the last four years. So he is consistently scoring those set-piece goals for us now.
“His all round game is good, solid, strong and he will have enjoyed that tonight.”
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