Tyrone Mings has come to the defence of England team-mate Harry Maguire, insisting he is not the "weak link" at Manchester United.
Maguire has been heavily criticised for his performances for the Old Trafford side this season, with reports claiming some of his United team-mates have questioned his place in the starting XI.
The Red Devils captain came under pressure following his display in the recent 4-1 defeat against Manchester City, while he was targeted by fans for criticism following their Champions League exit against Atletico Madrid.
What has been said?
But Mings insists that the centre-back deserves more credit than he receives, telling The Times: "If I were in Harry’s shoes and I’d been such a good servant to the national team in terms of the stuff that happened in Russia, and the amount of games that he’s played and the player he is, and I missed a couple of games through injury but then I was fit, I’d like to think there would be a level of loyalty or credit in the bank still that would allow me to at least come back.
“I fully understand the decision the manager made in the summer and I actually can agree with it.”
He added: “He comes under a lot of scrutiny, a lot of it misplaced at times because people are going on like the team is actually fully functioning and Harry is the weak link, which I don’t think is fair whatsoever.
"As a centre-back your mistakes are always highlighted — that’s just the territory, the position you play in, so that is what we accept — but I don’t think it has affected Harry. He is a great guy, a great character, a great leader and his service to the national team has been unbelievable really.
“Whatever is happening at club level, the manager and the players here [with England] make it really easy to leave it at the door and come into a whole new environment, with different faces, voices and stimulus.
"That’s probably why you see players sometimes playing differently for the national team than they do at club level, because it is a whole different world really. He’s doing well.”
Southgate defends Maguire
Gareth Southgate was also asked about Maguire's recent form for Ralf Rangnick's team, but insists he has a lot of faith in the 29-year-old.
He told reporters on Monday: "He has got us to a World Cup semi-final and a European Championship final so there's no doubt he's more than capable of playing at the highest level."