Harry Kane has staunchly defended England teammate Harry Maguire from fierce criticism ahead of Bayern Munich’s Champions League clash against Manchester United on Wednesday.

Maguire faced mounting pressure during the international break after England manager Gareth Southgate called him up for his squad, despite the United defender’s lack of playing time for his club.

The 30-year-old England international, who was stripped of United’s captaincy in the summer, was also mocked by his critics after he bundled the ball in his own net against Scotland last week.

Maguire was linked with an exit from Old Trafford and West Ham tabled a £30m offer for the ex-United captain, but the England centre-back remained at the club for the current season.

The former Leicester City man has fallen down the pecking order at United and has been left battling for minutes, with Erik ten Hag calling for Maguire to fight for his place.

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Scotland v England - 150th Anniversary Heritage Match
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Kane on ‘hard-working’ Maguire

Speaking ahead of Bayern’s Champions League clash, Kane insisted that United star Maguire had come under “really unnecessary scrutiny” and has been “scapegoated.”

“Yeah, look, I think [Maguire] has come under some really unnecessary scrutiny,” Kane told the press on Tuesday.

“Probably been scapegoated a little bit in terms of the way the team have gone over recent times, so… yeah, I know he’s a really good friend of mine, he’s a great guy, a really hard-working professional.

“From an England point of view, [he’s] been one of our best defenders in recent times and I would go as far as to say one of our best defenders over the history of our country in an England shirt.

“So, yeah, look, it’s part of our game now, it’s part of football. You’re scrutinised all over social media […], but knowing him, all he’ll wanna do is work harder and improve and get better and stay focused and we’re fully behind him as a national team.

“I know the coach [came] out and backed him fully, but there’s always going to be noise around players and the important thing we have is a core with England and that’s the most important thing going into big games and big tournaments.”

Ten Hag urged to use Maguire against Bayern

Ten Hag faces a tough test upon United’s return to the Champions League, with the under-fire United boss expecting his side to bounce back after the Brighton defeat.

United were outclassed by a superb in-form Brighton side on Saturday at Old Trafford, with the Red Devils’ defence looking awfully fragile at times.

Andy Townsend has now suggested that the former Ajax boss should consider Maguire as a potential option against Bayern due to the fact he “knows” Kane.

Speaking on talkSPORT, he said: “Is this the perfect match for Harry Maguire to come back into the United defence? He knows Harry Kane.

“He’ll have been up against him in training, he’s played against him here, there and everywhere.

“Could Harry Maguire come back in and resurrect himself? Is it that outrageous because Harry has been well documented.

“Don’t forget it’s easy to overlook what he’s done previously because he’s lacking in confidence and he hasn’t looked sharp.”

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