England defender Harry Maguire has got the unlikely backing of Hollywood actor Tom Holland after his horror own goal.
On 12 September, Maguire scored an unfortunate own goal in the international team’s friendly against neighbours Scotland, which finished 3-1 to England.
Ahead of the international break, many questioned manager Gareth Southgate’s decision to include 30-year-old Maguire in the line-up, given his lack of minutes played for club side Manchester United.
The defender was jeered after he was substituted on at half-time and matters only became worse when his deflected own goal in the 67th minute blemished England’s 2-0 scoreline at the time.
Amidst the abuse Maguire is facing, an unlikely celebrity has come to his defence as actor Holland called him an “asset” to England.
In an interview with Sky Sports, Holland said: “Look, I think being a professional athlete is incredibly tough, you’re under pressure every time you step onto the field. I admire the fact that he steps on there no matter what people are saying. He tries his best, he plays his best game.
“I think he’s a great player, he’s been a huge asset to England over the years,” the actor continued. “Yes, he made a mistake last night but he had to put his foot out, he can’t let a ball like that come through the box. Those things happen in football. I really admire Harry, he seems like a really nice guy.”
His mother, Zoe Maguire, has also condemned the abuse being aimed at her son in a lengthy statement, suggesting that “others may not be able” to handle what he is currently facing.
In an Instagram story, she wrote: “As a mum, seeing the level of negative and abusive comments in which my son is receiving from some fans, pundits and the media is disgraceful and totally unacceptable to any walk of life never mind someone who works his socks off for club and country.”
She continued: “I was there in the stands as usual, it’s not acceptable what’s been created over nothing. I understand that in the football world there are ups and downs, positive and negatives but what Harry receives has gone far beyond ‘football’.
“For me seeing him go through what he’s going through is not ok. I would hate to have to see other parents or players go through this in future, especially young boys and girls breaking through the ranks today.
“Harry has a massive heart and it’s a good job he’s mentally strong and can handle it as others may not be able too [sic]. I wish this sort of abuse on nobody!”