Luke Shaw says England and Manchester United team-mate Harry Maguire receives more criticism than he has “ever seen before in football”.
Centre-back Maguire made mistakes in the build-up to two of Germany’s three goals in England’s 3-3 draw on Monday.
His selection, and place in Gareth Southgate’s starting line-up, has been questioned after he was dropped earlier in the season by United.
“Harry is an amazing player, an amazing character,” Shaw told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“He’s taken a lot of stick – probably more than I’ve ever seen before in football.
“He never hides away, he’s always there. You can have people who can hide away and not want to be in the spotlight. He keeps putting himself in the spotlight, it shows the strength and character he’s got.
“Everybody knows he’s an unbelievable player. At the moment the confidence might not be there because it could feel like the whole world is against him.
“It’s tough for him, but us as players and staff are all behind him because he’s a very important player. It shows Gareth’s trust because he’s played in both games [this week] – and look at the Euros what he’s done.
“People need to understand he’s a big part of the England team and have to accept it.”
Maguire’s struggle for form for both club and country are not new – the 29-year-old was booed during England’s friendly win over Ivory Coast in March after a difficult period with United.
The following month, police conducted a sweep of his house after he received a bomb threat.
Club captain Maguire was also booed during pre-season in Australia, and has made just three Premier League appearances this season.
But still, England boss Southgate has continued to put his faith in Maguire, though that loyalty has not been repaid in this week’s Nations League matches.
After the Three Lions’ defeat by Italy on Friday, a result that saw them relegated from their Nations League group, he was rated 3.87 out of 10 on the BBC Sport Player Rater.
That dropped to 2.58 after the Germany draw at Wembley, a game before which Maguire’s name received a smattering of boos though he had support from a much larger section of England fans prior to his costly mistakes.
Former England and United defender Rio Ferdinand tweeted during the Germany match: “Feel for Harry… every mistake being punished and scrutinised – comes with the territory though.
“Needs to be strong mentally to get through this! Playing with no games at this level always leaves you open.”
BBC pundit Chris Sutton, asked if he felt sorry for Maguire, said: “Yes, totally, I really do.
However, speaking on BBC Radio 5 live, Sutton described Maguire’s mistakes for the first goal as “horrific” and “so clumsy”.
The former England striker added: “Blimey, you wouldn’t have a heart if you didn’t feel sorry for him.
“The second goal… it wasn’t comical, but you’d have to laugh or you’d cry for him.
“Gareth Southgate has a huge decision to make. If Erik ten Hag is watching the game he’s thinking ‘blimey, can I ever play him for Manchester United again?’
“He’s a player whose confidence is shot to pieces. Gareth’s spoken about this ‘big agenda’ against Harry Maguire. Is there? Isn’t there? From Harry Maguire’s point of view, he needs to play games to build his confidence.”
Speaking after the Italy match, Maguire said: “To be honest I don’t listen to the noise.
“I’m Manchester United captain and Manchester United are the most spoken about club in England, so if I listened to the noise, I’d probably be there all day, so I don’t listen to it.
“I can imagine there’s a lot because I haven’t been playing and I’m a footballer who hasn’t had that in my career to date.
“I’ve always been a player who has been available and always played in starting XIs, so it’s different for me, something that I don’t want to get used to. But I need to work hard in training and make sure when that chance comes I’m ready.
“Because that chance will come.”
‘Gareth has trust in me’
Like Maguire, left-back Shaw is not a regular starter for Erik ten Hag’s United and has made just two Premier League appearances so far this campaign – both coming in August.
Despite his drop to the bench at club level, the 27-year-old featured in both England games this week, coming on as a late substitute against Italy and starting against Germany.
Monday’s match was England’s last before the World Cup gets under way in Qatar in November.
“It obviously shows the trust Gareth has in me,” said Shaw.
“But also from a club respective I know the first two games [this season] weren’t good enough and of course I fully understand the manager has to make decisions. Now the team have been winning we have to bide our time.
“The only thing I can do is keep supporting the team, keep training hard and of course just wait for my time. If I put my head down and not really care, it will be a bigger hill to climb when I want to play.
“I’ve got to keep working hard and understand my situation, and it’s up to me to keep working hard and keep training well and hopefully just wait for the chance.”