To every single person’s surprise online, out of absolutely nowhere, England and Manchester United defender Harry Maguire has tweeted out an advert for the American taco chain Taco Bell.
Just two hours after the centre-back was named in UEFA’s official Euro 2020 team of the tournament — an accolade for which Maguire said he was “proud” — he wrote: “Thank you England. You cheered your heart out. Now eat your heart out. Get a free taco today.” Though undeclared as advert, the tweet uses official Taco Bell imagery from the chain’s “ISEEATACO” campaign, which in recent days had been promoted by former England player Peter Crouch and current West Ham United forward Jesse Lingard, who narrowly missed out on the Euro 2021 squad.
The campaign is a play on the omnipresent “coming home” slogan, which has accompanied England whenever they’ve played a major tournament since 1996. Promotions from Crouch and Lingard feature “It’s coming home” but since England did not win against Italy on Sunday in the final, Maguire’s ad today merely feautures the phrase “Free tacos. Take one home.”
In the modern age, footballers are no strangers to a commercial partnerships. But the composition and timing of this tweet — both of which are almost certainly nothing to do with Maguire himself — are extremely peculiar. At a time when the racist abuse of Maguire’s England teammates is being roundly condemned and while the nation comes to terms with both the achievements and anti-climax of the European Championships, the taco tweet is mistimed and misses the target.