Manchester United defender Harry Maguire is keen to fight for his place at Old Trafford as doubts mount over the player’s future at the club.
Maguire has struggled to remain consistent since arriving at United from Leicester City in 2019 for a world-record fee for a defender – £80million.
Erik ten Hag’s arrival has effectively reduced Maguire to a bit-part role, with the Dutchman preferring a centre-back pairing of Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane.
In Martinez and Varane’s absences, Victor Lindelof and Luke Shaw, naturally a left-back, have been preferred.
Reports have been circulating that United will look to offload Maguire when the transfer window opens this summer.
The Red Devils want to cut their losses and invest money gained from Maguire’s sale into buying another defender more capable of playing Ten Hag’s brand of football.
However, as per The Athletic, Maguire is determined to prove his worth at United.
“Those close to the player — who, like many in this piece, wish to remain anonymous to protect relationships — insist Maguire, who turned 30 in March, wants to fight for his United future and regain a starting place.”
“United, for their part, are not pushing him out of the club and he is behind players, such as the currently on-loan pair Eric Bailly and Alex Telles, in the pecking order of who the club wants to get off the wage bill this summer.”
Adam Crafton adds, “Yet, with Euro 2024 to come next summer and United keen to reshape their squad, complicated discussions may lie ahead.”
A former sports scientist who was at Hull City when Maguire was there, spoke to The Athletic and revealed details of text messages he exchanged with Maguire.
The former sports scientist remarked, “He was desperate to improve. At the time, he was learning that running more did not always make for better performance. He came to realise you need the capacity to run, but the positioning is more important. There were many times he clocked the team’s highest speed for recovery runs from attacking corners, which showed his desire.”
This former sports scientist’s sentiments were echoed by an insider within United who secretly opined that Maguire has not been aided by the upheaval at United.
As per this person, Maguire would have been a far better player say for instance, if he was at Manchester City under Pep Guardiola.
An instance of the disruptions that hindered Maguire as per the report was the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo is said to have overwhelmed many of his teammates who were initially excited at the prospect of playing with one of the greatest players of all time.
At one point, Ronaldo personally held an impromptu meeting with Ralf Rangnick where he made it clear that he does not want to have Maguire in the team.
Rangnick ignored Ronaldo’s wishes and kept faith with Maguire, even retaining the Englishman’s role as captain.
Ten Hag gave Maguire a clean slate but the 30-year-old blew his chance during a calamitous personal display in United’s opening two games against Brighton and Brentford.
Since these two games, Maguire has only started five times across 28 games in the Premier League.
A former United colleague was asked about Maguire and the harsh criticism directed towards him and had this to say, “Once a pile-on starts at Manchester United, particularly as an expensive purchase, it would be difficult for anyone to cope with the caricaturing that ensues.
“How would you or I cope if the entire internet was waiting for that one imperfect moment in our daily work to go ballistic at you?”
“It would not be human to be unaffected by the constant criticism and abuse. None of this is to say he is the best in the world or there are no shortcomings in his game, but he is singled out for brutal criticism which is not always entirely warranted.”
For Maguire, one cannot help but think his time at the Theatre of Dreams is coming to an end. It may be a situation of a little too late for the player to try and salvage the situation. For all parties involved, a parting of ways may be the best alternative.
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