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15th Oct 2020

Roy Keane explains “sympathy” for Harry Maguire after red card

Simon Lloyd

“Whatever’s going on in his head, it’s all over the place”

These are strange times we live in. Very strange indeed. So strange, in fact, that even Roy Keane appears to be mellowing a bit. Maybe.

Over the last couple of years we’ve had more than a few examples of Keane delivering the bluntest of blunt assessments when appearing as a pundit. As was the way when he played, he accepts only the very highest of standards from professional footballers – particularly those who play for Manchester United.

With that in mind, those watching ITV Football’s highlights of England’s defeat by Denmark on Wednesday night might have expected the former United captain to produce a more scathing evaluation of Harry Maguire’s performance.

Maguire, United’s current captain, was sent off with little over half an hour played at Wembley for two bookable challenges. England fell behind after a controversial penalty soon after and, playing with ten men for an hour, couldn’t find a response.

The defender’s form has been a concern during United’s slow start to the season – particularly after the 6-1 thrashing by Tottenham. After his arrest in Greece in the summer, some have questioned whether Maguire deserved an extended break before returning to action.

Though Keane had no complaints with the decisions that led to his sending off, he stopped well short of being too critical of Maguire, instead expressing his sympathy:

“I have loads of sympathy with Maguire. Obviously whatever’s going on in his head, it’s all over the place.

“You can see with him as soon as he sees the red card coming out, you have to have sympathy with him.”

Though Gareth Southgate pledged his support for Maguire after the game, Keane also felt the England boss could have acknowledged the defender as he made his way back to the Wembley changing rooms.

“Gareth mentioned that he’s got the full support but I think sometimes in a situation like that where he knows Harry’s having a really tough time on and off the pitch, a pat on the back there would’ve helped him.

“Considering how low he knows the player is at the moment, I think a pat of on the back would’ve said a lot.”