Gary Neville backs Gareth Southgate over problem with Man Utd star Harry Maguire

Gary Neville has backed England manager Gareth Southgate’s stance on Manchester United star Harry Maguire’s fiasco.

The Three Lions’ boss had included the £80m defender in his squad for the Nations League matches, days after an appearance in court for charges of assault and attempted bribery, following a brawl on the Greek island of Mykonos.

But Southgate axed the 27-year-old when he was found guilty of the charges.

And Neville, who played with the England manager in the national side for nine years, has backed the 50-year-old’s decision.

Speaking on Sky Sports, he said: “I think he dealt with the Harry Maguire incident really well.

“He demonstrated support by keeping him in the squad before the court ruling came out.

“He did the right thing.”

Neville went on to compare the situation to one involving former United team-mate Rio Ferdinand, with the defender being banned for eight months from January 2004 after failing to attend a drugs test.

The Sky Sports pundit added: “But my problem with the Rio Ferdinand issue, all those years ago, was the fact they banned him before he’d even heard.

“You have to support your players before they’ve done wrong.

“Gareth had nowhere to go with this because of Covid-19.

“I can’t think of a manager that is better qualified to deal with these situations that Gareth Southgate.”

Southgate announced Maguire’s axing from the England squad on August 25, hours after he received the guilty conviction.

He said to the press: “In light of this evening’s developments, I can confirm I have withdrawn Harry Maguire from the England squad for the matches against Iceland and Denmark.

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"As I said earlier today, I reserved the right to review the situation. Having spoken to Manchester United and the player, I have made this decision in the best interests of all parties and with consideration of the impact on our preparations for next week."

Maguire’s team-mate Mason Greenwood has also hit headlines for the wrong reasons recently, letting two Icelandic girls into the team’s hotel with Phil Foden and breaking quarantine regulations.

But Neville says the pair should be treated with “love” in light of the incident.

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