Wayne Rooney has leapt to the defence of Manchester United captain Harry Maguire after the England defender was found guilty of assaulting a police officer and attempted bribery in Mykonos.
The United captain is set for a full retrial in the Greek courts after his application for appeal against his guilty verdict was accepted.
United and England have both stood by their player, with the Premier League outfit saying the appeal nullifies Tuesday’s ruling and means Maguire has no criminal record ahead of a retrial.
‘I think all I can say on that is Harry, the way I know him, that is completely out of character for him with everything that is reported to have happened,’ Rooney told talkSPORT.
‘I just think as a nation, as people we are too quick to judge. I couldn’t get my head around how he went to the court and he was found guilty and sentences in the space of one or two hours, I was like ‘how that’s happened?’
‘Harry is not that type of person at all. You’ve got to look at it, he’s there with his girlfriend, his family and his friends and their girlfriends.
‘So it is not a group of lads where sometimes things can happen. In my opinion, something has gone on that has maybe provoked [him]. It is just out of character, it is not him at all.
‘Obviously he was found guilty and there’s an appeal, so at the minute there’s no charges now against his name until the next court date.’
England manager Gareth Southgate is also ready to recall Maguire for the October internationals after axing him from the latest squad to face Iceland and Denmark next month.
The 27-year-old defender had been convicted at a court on the Greek island of Syros for offences of assault and bribery and handed a 21-month suspended prison sentence following an incident outside a bar.
Maguire’s lawyer claimed in court that the footballer’s sister Daisy was injected with a date rape drug by two mysterious Albanian men outside the bar the defendants were at.
Daisy collapsed, triggering a brawl, and police rushed to the scene, with the Albanians fleeing, the court was told.
The court heard that Maguire and his group asked to be taken to hospital after the brawl, but were stopped by undercover police.
After more violent clashes, the three accused were driven to a police station, where officers kicked Maguire on the leg and told him: ‘Your career is over’.
The court also heard how Maguire told Greek police ‘don’t you know who I am? I’m the captain of Man Utd’, before attempting to bribe officers.
It is understood no date has yet been fixed for the appeal and, while United would like the matter dealt with as soon as possible, they recognise it could be a two years before the case is heard.
Meanwhile, Sportsmail revealed on Wednesday United have no intention of stripping the centre-back of the club captaincy, and former skipper Rooney has said the reports of Maguire’s behaviour are not in keeping with the person he knows.
Rooney himself has had to deal with the pressure of the spotlight throughout his career and openly admitted that he’s had his own brushes with the law.
But United and England’s hit back at claims that Maguire should have spent his holiday in a villa to keep himself out of the public eye.
‘It is not easy, obviously I have made my own mistakes, I have had my own issues with the law, both in England and abroad so I know how difficult that can be but I think with Harry he is not that character at all,’ Rooney continued.
‘I heard people saying why doesn’t he go and hire a villa and stay in the villa.
‘Now especially that there is a big campaign for mental health, you go and lock yourself away for the next 10 years and you stay in a villa and you don’t put yourself in any public viewing.
‘Why should he go and hide in a villa, he is a human being!
‘I get that [security is an issue] if you are with a group of lads, but if you are out with your girlfriend or your wife you don’t think of any trouble occurring. I only ever had security once in my whole career which came off the back of Euro 2004.
‘So for me something’s gone on that isn’t right, and as a human being you might react…’