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‘She didn’t love it’ – Maguire on 2018 World Cup meme which sent Man Utd defender & his wife viral

12:52 BST 18/10/2022
Harry Maguire Fern Hawkins
Harry Maguire admits that his partner, Fern Hawkins, is a not a fan of the picture taken of them at the 2018 World Cup which became an instant meme.
  • Defender impressed om a global stage
  • Helped Three Lions to the semi-finals
  • Unwittingly became a star on social media

WHAT HAPPENED? An image of the Manchester United defender, who was then on the books at Leicester, in conversation with his now wife at the end of a penalty shoot-out victory for England over Colombia went viral as various takes on it flooded social media. Maguire admits he cannot remember what was actually being said at the time, with the picture considered by many to embody self-confidence, and concedes that Hawkins would rather not boast the same level of celebrity as he enjoys.

WHAT THEY SAID: Maguire has told FourFourTwo of a now infamous post-match discussion: "It became a big meme. I’m not even sure what we talked about. My girlfriend, now my wife, didn’t love the picture – or the angle of it. But we weren’t used to it, Fern and I. We kept our lives private; we weren’t used to being in the papers. It was strange for us. There was good banter between the players and the fans, though – even the media.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: The image of Maguire speaking with his girlfriend of the time was not the only picture to become synonymous with England’s run to the semi-finals in Russia, with inflatable unicorns in the squad’s training base swimming pool also gaining a cult following. Maguire added: “We came together, which wasn’t the case in previous tournaments, and it helped. We had funny moments on social media. The race on inflatable unicorns worked well, and not just because I won every race. The environment we created was really good. It was different at the Euros due to Covid, and I missed what we had at the World Cup, talking to fans and finding out about their experiences. I hope that’ll happen in Qatar.”

IN THREE PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT FOR MAGUIRE? Despite starring for England in 2018, allowing him to become the most expensive defender on the planet when joining United for £80 million ($90m), Maguire is sweating on his place in England’s plans for the 2022 World Cup as he struggles for form and fitness at club level.