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Gareth Southgate launches staunch Harry Maguire defence after England horror show

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Gareth Southgate has defended Harry Maguire after England finished up with TWO red cards.

Manchester United captain Maguire got his marching orders after 31 minutes after a second yellow card for two reckless challenges.

Chelsea defender Reece James also saw red after the final whistle on his first start for England for what appeared to be a rant at referee Jesús Gil Manzano following a disappointing defeat.

But Southgate defended under-fire Maguire even though he is clearly struggling for form and confidence after being convicted for assault in a Greek court in the summer.

England boss Southgate said: “The first yellow was a challenge he didn’t need to make and it put him on edge. The second one is an interception.

“He’s a great player and massive part of what we do. He’s got a lot sticks thrown his way, he’s got our full support.

“He just needs the reassurance that we have total belief in him. He’s had to deal with all sorts, and from some people who should know better.

“When you’re a bit older you can rationalise it, and move forward from it.

“He’s experiencing it from the first time really, he’s had setbacks but his profile has changed in the last couple of years because of the club he plays for and the success he’s had with us.

“He’s got to keep going and the tide will turn.”

But despite England’s defeat in the Nations League clash, Southgate praised the performance even after losing to a sloppy penalty award following a mix-up between Jordan Pickford and Kyle Walker.

Southgate said: “I was very proud of the performance. I thought we were excellent with 11 men and causing them all sorts of problems down our right-hand side. The sending off alters everything and the penalty.

“It’s a foul on Kyle Walker and I don’t see the foul at all. The less said the better. We showed resilience and showed a great example of how to play with 10 pragmatically, and when to press.

“Their keeper made an amazing save to keep it at 1-0.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the boys in the last 10 days, they are learning and improving. We’ve had any number of changes to our preparation and showed resilience.”

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