Manchester United defender Harry Maguire has sparked outrage from England’s LGBT+ supporters group after claiming they were not ‘proper fans’ for booing Jordan Henderson.
Henderson faced jeers from a section of the England supporters when he was substituted during the Three Lions’ 1-0 victory over Australia at Wembley Stadium.
The friendly fixture was England’s first on home turf since Henderson, who had been a vocal advocate for LGBT+ issues, completed his controversial summer move from Liverpool to Saudi Arabian side Al-Ettifaq.
While Henderson was applauded by several fans, audible boos were also heard when he was brought on during Tuesday’s crucial 3-1 victory against Italy.
Man United centre-back Maguire jumped to Henderson’s defence, insisting fans who booed the former Liverpool skipper are not real supporters of the national team.
“Proper England fans don’t boo players,” Maguire said.
“Don’t boo players who dedicate their life to play and do everything they can to make this country have good memories and have special moments for them and their families.
“You heard when he came on the cheers and a few jeers, but they aren’t England fans.”
Maguire’s remarks have triggered a strong reaction from Three Lions Pride, a group whose members were among those expressing their disapproval of Henderson.
They have accused Maguire of attempting to silence them and pushing football back to a time when LGBT+ supporters felt unwelcome.
“Fans have a valid voice, and ultimately there are many actions that fans can take to show their distaste with players, teams or owners,” a spokesperson for the group told the Mirror.
“Booing is never something that fans wish to do to their own team, but it is indicative of the strength of feeling around this issue and Henderson’s choices.
“It is clear that it is not just LGBT+ fans who think that he is a Saudi sellout.
“To say that fans who follow this team loyally home and away, and at great personal expense, are not ‘proper’ fans gatekeeps the game – how else would Maguire like fans to register their distaste?
“Attempting to silence our voice can only create a hollow environment. Why do members of the England squad feel the need to diminish the voice of fans because they seemingly don’t agree?
“Our views are very open and clear, for anyone to see. And, as always, our door remains open to constructive conversations should anybody in the England set up wish to engage.”
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