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Harry Maguire set to fly back from Greece after assault charge | UK news

Harry Maguire was set to fly back to England on Saturday night, cutting short a holiday on the Greek island of Mykonos that ended with the Manchester United and England defender accused of attacking a police officer after a late-night brawl.

Maguire was released on Saturday morning after spending two nights in police cells, but will be tried in a Greek court on Tuesday on two charges of “serial bodily harm” and “serial insult”. After the hearing, Maguire was asked by reporters outside the courthouse if he was still at liberty. “Right now, yes,” the 27-year-old’s lawyer said, according to Sky News.

The Manchester United captain’s case is set to be heard by a three-judge panel on the neighbouring island of Syros, although he does not have to attend in person. It is almost certain that Maguire will choose not to, and will be represented by his legal team. Maguire denies the two counts against him.

His legal team – composed of three Greek lawyers and at least one Manchester United club representative believed to have flown into Syros on a private plane with Maguire’s father on Friday night – began a staunch defence of the footballer on Saturday. They attributed the brawl, in part, to an attack “with a sharp object” on his sister after a day of heavy drinking and partying on the island.

“When that happened and he saw his sister in such a state, [he] became incensed,” sources were quoted as telling Mykonos Voice, a local media outlet.

What began as a scuffle inside a bar in Mykonos’s trendy Fabrika district reportedly descended rapidly into a brawl outside involving Maguire, his friends, rival fans and police who, conducting coronavirus inspections nearby, rushed to the scene.

Maguire had been photographed and filmed throughout the day and evening, enjoying the company of his teammates Marcus Rashford and Brandon Williams, as well as the snooker player Judd Trump, and mixing with other tourists, appearing to drink alcohol on occasions.

After spending Thursday evening in cells on Mykonos, Maguire was taken to Syros by boat on Friday alongside two friends, who were also accused. The same day, Greek police issued a statement accusing Maguire and the other men, aged 28 and 29, of “violence against officials, disobedience, bodily harm, insult and attempted bribery of an official”.

Whatever the outcome of Tuesday’s trial, the episode is likely to dent Maguire’s reputation and is particularly unsavoury for Manchester United and the club’s manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, given Maguire’s profile as the captain. When news of the incident broke early on Friday morning, it is understood to have caught Manchester United by surprise, with officials from the club struggling at first to ascertain the facts and timeline.

A statement from the club said: “Following an appearance in court we note the adjournment of the case to allow the legal team to consider the case file. Harry has pleaded not guilty to the charges. It would be inappropriate for the player or club to comment further while the legal process takes its course.”

Maguire’s arrest and subsequent trial is also likely to cause Gareth Southgate, the England manager, disquiet, given his principled stance on players behaving properly, with Maguire the lynchpin of the national team’s defence. Maguire, who has played for the national team 26 times, was one of the stars of England’s World Cup team which reached the semi-finals in 2018.

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