Harry Maguire removed from England squad after assault conviction in Greece


Harry Maguire has been removed from the England squad after he was given a suspended prison sentence in Greece.

The 27-year-old defender was found guilty of assaulting a police officer, swearing, resisting arrest and attempted bribery by a court on the island of Syros on Tuesday.

He was handed a jail term of 21 months and 10 days, but it will be suspended because it was a first offence and the charges were classed as misdemeanours.

Manchester United captain Harry Maguire leaves a court building on the island of Syros, Greece

Harry Maguire found guilty

Maguire, who is the Manchester United captain, had been included in the England squad by manager Gareth Southgate earlier on in the day.

But Southgate decided to remove him from the team following the convictions.

Southgate said in a statement: “In light of this evening’s developments, I can confirm I have withdrawn Harry Maguire from the England squad for the matches against Iceland and Denmark.

“As I said earlier today, I reserved the right to review the situation. Having spoken to Manchester United and the player, I have made this decision in the best interests of all parties and with consideration of the impact on our preparations for next week.”

More from Harry Maguire

Sky News sports correspondent Martha Kelner, who was at court in Syros, said Maguire being dropped by England is “the biggest punishment of all”.

She said: “Gareth Southgate was very fulsome in his backing of Harry Maguire and said what he was hearing reported did not match up to the man he knows, but that all changed in light of this afternoon’s developments.”

Kelner added: “The frenetic eight-hour trial involved witness after witness, and it didn’t look great for Harry Maguire – and when that verdict arrived it was exactly the one Maguire and his family didn’t want.

“Harry Maguire has said tonight that he plans on appealing the verdict.”

Harry Maguire has been included in Gareth Southgate's England squad
Maguire has been dropped from the England squad

Maguire, who was not present at the trial, was found guilty of all charges, including attempting to bribe a police officer.

The footballer was arrested with his brother and a friend after a fight broke out, while he was on holiday in Mykonos, over claims his sister was injected with a suspected “rape drug”.

Manchester United said in a statement Maguire “continues to strongly assert his innocence” and the trial gave his lawyers “minimal time to digest the charges and prepare”.

Gareth Southgate presser

England manager Gareth Southgate earlier included Harry Maguire in the squad

The lawyers had asked the court to postpone proceedings over the incident, which happened last Thursday during a family getaway.

But the trial went ahead in the absence of all three defendants – Maguire, his brother Joe and their friend Christopher Sharman.

Joe Maguire was found guilty of repeated bodily harm, violence against public employees and attempted bribery.

Sharman was found guilty of insult, repeated bodily harm and violence against public employees.

Both were sentenced to 13 months in prison, suspended for three years.

Speaking after the verdict, Yoannis Paradissis, the lawyer who assisted the prosecution, told Sky News the victims are still waiting for an apology and are “appalled” at the footballer trying to blame police officers.

Manchester United football team captain Harry Maguire leaves a courthouse on the Greek island of Syros, the administrative hub of the Cycladic island group that includes Mykonos on August 22, 2020. - Maguire was released from Greek police custody on August 22, 2020, TV footage showed, pending a hearing on assault charges on the neighbouring island of Mykonos. The £80 million (88 million euros) defender was arrested late on August 20, after what Greek police described as an "altercation" between two groups of British tourists on Mykonos. (Photo by EUROKINISSI / AFP) (Photo by EUROKINISSI/AFP via Getty Images)
Harry Maguire pictured leaving a courthouse on the Greek island of Syros

He also rubbished the star’s claims he did not know who the officers were, adding: “They were taken outside the police station, there were police vehicles, the policemen showed their police IDs.

“It’s a total lie they didn’t understand. They were found guilty of verbally assaulting the policeman by saying ‘f*** the police’. How can you say that to someone who is not a policeman?”

Maguire’s lawyer Alexis Anagnostakis previously told the court that two Albanian men had approached his sister Daisy and gave her an unknown substance, which made her faint instantly.

Ashden Morley, a friend of the footballer’s since childhood, said his fiancee Fern Hawkins had noticed that Daisy’s eyes were rolling back in her head around midnight.

The group suspected two Albanian men had injected her with a rape drug, Mr Morley told the court.

Plain clothed police officers intervened to try to calm the situation when one of the defendants said “f***, f*** the police” and an officer was punched, prosecutors told the trial.

Lawyer for Harry Maguire, Zanniz Panayotakopolous

Lawyer: Maguire will ‘for sure’ not go to jail

Once Maguire arrived at the police station, he said: “Do you know who I am? I am the captain of Manchester United, I am very rich, I can give you money, I can pay you, please let us go,” the court was told.

But Mr Anagnostakis claimed that at the station Maguire was kicked in the leg by officers who told him: “Your career is over.”

He pleaded not guilty to all three charges and spent two nights in custody after he was arrested.

Maguire has made 26 appearances for England. The team are due to play Iceland on 5 September and Denmark three days later in the UEFA Nations League.

Southgate’s side have not played this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, which led to the European Championship being postponed until 2021.

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