Soccer

Proper England fans don’t boo players – Harry Maguire backs Jordan Henderson

Harry Maguire (centre) insists any supporters who booed Jordan Henderson are not “real” England fans (Martin Rickett/PA)
Harry Maguire (centre) insists any supporters who booed Jordan Henderson are not “real” England fans (Martin Rickett/PA) Harry Maguire (centre) insists any supporters who booed Jordan Henderson are not “real” England fans (Martin Rickett/PA)

Harry Maguire has hit out at the minority of supporters who jeered Jordan Henderson over the international break – insisting “proper England fans don’t boo players”.

Henderson was booed off the Wembley pitch during Friday’s 1-0 friendly win over Australia, admitting it was “disappointing” to be on the receiving end of a negative reaction.

Eyebrows were raised when the 33-year-old swapped his role as Liverpool skipper for the Saudi Pro League, joining Steven Gerrard’s Al-Ettifaq in a controversial £12million deal during the summer.

A small number of jeers greeted Henderson's introduction into the win over Italy on Tuesday
A small number of jeers greeted Henderson's introduction into the win over Italy on Tuesday A small number of jeers greeted Henderson’s introduction into the win over Italy on Tuesday (John Walton/PA)

The midfielder had been a high-profile supporter of LGBTQ+ rights during his time at Anfield and last month apologised for any hurt he caused by moving to a country where homosexuality is illegal.

There were murmurs when Henderson’s name was read out before the Australia clash but a vocal minority very audibly jeered when he was replaced in the second half and a smattering of boos were heard as he came off the bench in Tuesday’s 3-1 Euro 2024 qualifying win over Italy.

Maguire, who himself has been targeted by jeers while playing for his country in the past, said those who did turn on Henderson “aren’t England fans”.

“Proper England fans don’t boo players,” he told Sky Sports.

“Don’t boo players who dedicate their life to play and do everything they can to make this country have good memories and special moments for them and the fans and their families.

“I know a lot of top, top England fans and I know the England fans who have been with me ever since my debut.

Maguire has endured periods of his international career when he has been booed by his own fans
Maguire has endured periods of his international career when he has been booed by his own fans Maguire has endured periods of his international career when he has been booed by his own fans (Adam Davy/PA)

“They’re right behind me and they’re right behind Jordan as well.

“You heard a lot of cheers and yes, a few jeers, but they aren’t England fans.”

Henderson – who was named captain against the Socceroos – and Maguire are likely to retain the faith of Gareth Southgate despite some negative reactions as the England boss said on the eve of the Italy game he could not pick his team on a “popularity contest”.