There is only one thing Harry Maguire can do to end his Manchester United ridicule

Should Maguire have stuck a leg out when Andy Robertson played a cross into the box from the right? No. Does that mistake make him the worst player to have represented England and deserving of abuse? No.

The atmosphere at Hampden Park is bound to be hostile when England travel north of the border, but Scotland fans only heckled Maguire and Gareth Southgate is right to suggest that&aposs a consequence of the narrative around him.

“From a Scotland&aposs fans&apos point of view, I get it. I&aposve no complaints about what they did. It&aposs a consequence of ridiculous treatment of him for a long period of time,” said Southgate when asked about Maguire after the game.

“Our fans recognised that there might be a bit of heat from our own supporters but we&aposre not having it from others getting into him. It&aposs a joke. I&aposve never known a player treated the way he is, not just by Scottish fans, but by commentators, pundits, whatever, they&aposve created something beyond anything I&aposve ever seen.

“He&aposs been a stalwart for us, part of the most successful England team for decades. He&aposs been a key part of that. I&aposve spoken about the importance of the senior players, he is crucial to that.

“Every time he goes on the field, the resilience and balls he shows is absolutely incredible. He&aposs a top player. We&aposre all with him. I feel very strongly about it. He&aposs good, he&aposs great. He&aposs been a big part of that win.”

Southgate is a level-headed manager but he understandably lost his composure. He said the treatment of Maguire &aposmakes him livid&apos and it&aposs reassuring to see the player continue to receive the backing of the England manager.

There have been loud calls for Maguire to lose his England starting place over the last few years and they have been justified. His performances for Manchester United have been poor and not deserving of international selection.

If Southgate picked the England team solely based on club performances then Maguire wouldn&apost be near the side, but what must be taken into consideration is the centre-back has been outstanding for his country in every major tournament.

United fans have seen Maguire at his worst and England fans have seen him at his best. He hasn&apost put a foot wrong for his country and he was named in the team of the tournament at the 2018 World Cup in Russia and again at Euro 2020.

His performances for England have been colossal and that&aposs why Southgate has shown him unwavering loyalty. Maguire has repaid that faith and he certainly hasn&apost deserved to become a scapegoat on the international stage.

Maguire is a flawed player, like most, and the fair criticism of his performances is justified, but millions of fans making him a pantomime villain has been strange, unjustified and the ridicule has become exhausting.

Lewis Dunk and Marc Guehi started the game against Scotland on Tuesday and the latter picked up an injury before half-time, meaning it was the logical choice for Maguire to replace him with the game delicately poised.

The other options on the bench were Fikayo Tomori and Levi Colwill, who is yet to make his England debut. Maguire has 59 international caps in comparison and his experience in a hostile atmosphere was called upon.

Scotland fans targeted Maguire and they wouldn&apost have if not for the narrative around him. Some would have you believe he&aposs an awful player when the reality is he&aposd improve most Premier League clubs.

There has been reaction to Southgate&aposs interview that says he must take some of the blame for Maguire&aposs treatment, with it being suggested that his consistent selection of the player has increased the spotlight on him.

Although there is some merit to that argument, Southgate would fire back by asking: when has Maguire let England down? The scapegoating of the player has gone too far, but it seems there&aposs only way the narrative will end.

For as long as Maguire remains at Old Trafford where he&aposs not a regular starter, he will continue to be a pantomime villain when he plays and a move away from the club would give him the opportunity to send a reminder of his quality.