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Sports

Updated on: Saturday, November 13, 2021, 03:13 PM IST

FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers: Harry Maguire defends himself after scathing criticism from Roy Keane

Harry Maguire had headed the opening goal as England thrashed Albania 5-0 to put them within a point of automatic qualification for the World Cup in Qatar
Harry Maguire | Photo: AFP

Harry Maguire | Photo: AFP

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Harry Maguire has insisted he was not trying to make a statement with his goal celebration against Albania on Friday after Roy Keane labelled it "embarrassing".

Keane claimed Maguire should be 'embarrassed' after cupping his ears to celebrate his header in the Three Lions' 5-0 win, arguing that the centre-back has been so poor at club level that such a routine goal proves nothing to anyone.

Maguire was asked about those comments after the game, and he told Sky Sports News that the former United midfielder was reading too much into his celebration.

The celebration was a knee slide, it just came naturally to me. It’s an amazing feeling to score for my country. It wasn't directed at anyone, it just came naturally to do that and open the scoring for England and get the important three points.”

-Harry Maguire

“It was a great ball from Reece (James)," he began. “We'd worked on it, we knew the areas we could exploit and credit to all the staff for doing that.

“I managed to direct the header into the far post and I think when you play these games, the first goal is crucial and it comes quite a lot from set-plays. We knew we'd get a lot of set-plays and we had to be clinical with them.

“The celebration was a knee slide, it just came naturally to me. It’s an amazing feeling to score for my country. It wasn't directed at anyone, it just came naturally to do that and open the scoring for England and get the important three points.”

Manager Gareth Southgate, who defended Maguire's recent form after the match, also weighed in with his opinion on the celebration.

“Is he a Hulk Hogan fan? I don't know what the celebration was for,” Southgate joked.

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Published on: Saturday, November 13, 2021, 03:13 PM IST
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