Ralf Rangnick said he finds it hard to understand why Manchester United defender Harry Maguire was booed by England fans before this week’s friendly against Ivory Coast.
Maguire was jeered when the teams were read out before England’s 3-0 win on Tuesday and the centre-back suffered further abuse during the match at Wembley.
England boss Gareth Southgate called the fans’ attitude to Maguire “a joke”, while several of his international team-mates also slammed the criticism.
The taunts from the stands were curious because Maguire has been a key player for England during a successful period for the Euro 2020 runners-up, albeit his personal form with United has been poor this term.
United interim manager Rangnick made it clear he didn’t expect any boos for the captain from the fans at Old Trafford during Saturday’s Premier League game against Leicester.
“He knows my position towards him. He’s been a very valuable player for the team and the club, the captain. I didn’t understand what happened at Wembley, it won’t happen in our stadium with the Red Army,” Rangnick told reporters on Friday.
“He’s been playing well for Manchester United and England in the last couple of years. Gareth Southgate said something after the game and (England captain) Harry Kane. I didn’t watch the game but I heard what had happened after they announced the starting line-up. It is difficult to understand.
“I don’t speak to the fans in person but I’m pretty sure it won’t happen in our stadium. For it to happen in an international game is unusual.”
Asked why he felt Maguire’s form had been getting so much scrutiny, Rangnick said: “I don’t think this is a personal thing, it hasn’t anything to do with Harry himself.
“We know there are one or two players who have been criticised in the last few months, for example Fred, who is a very important player for this team and Brazil.
“Maybe it’s still got to do with the high expectations around this club and people tend to compare with former players and legends. Fred and Harry are important players and players with the right attitude.”
Rangnick also had to deal with the latest outburst from United midfielder Paul Pogba during the international break.
Pogba, who is out of contract at the end of the season, gave an interview in France in which he appeared to suggest United’s season was dead and complained about the way he has been used in his second spell at the club.
“Tomorrow’s game is another important one and I don’t think it makes sense to interpret or just judge what he has maybe said in an interview, it doesn’t make sense,” Rangnick said.
“That’s something you can do if you want. For me, it’s only important to judge him. I heard he said he had played in different positions in the last couple of weeks.
“Paul is flexible and can play as a six, eight and even 10. This is normal.”