Home » Have the two final coffin nails gone in Harry Maguire’s Man United career?

Have the two final coffin nails gone in Harry Maguire’s Man United career?

by Red Billy

Flying under the radar amidst the furore of the Manchester United takeover, Harry Maguire’s future at the club took two big blows this week.

The club captain and record defensive signing has lost his place in the starting line-up under Erik ten Hag and despite positive performances for England at the national level, he has lost the confidence of large swathes of the United faithful after a number of shaky performances for the club.

As reported here yesterday, Maguire remains determined to turn his fortunes around at Old Trafford despite everything that has gone on and despite constant reports saying that he is being lined up by other clubs.

But there has been further ignominy this week.

First, former United defender Marcos Rojo stated in an interview with TyC Sports in Argentina that he left the club because Maguire was picked ahead of him despite his game being littered with “huge mistakes”. Rojo claims the then manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told him he had to pick Maguire because of the money that had been paid for him (€87 million).

Then, and more importantly, twice in club interviews this week Ten Hag pointedly referred to Bruno Fernandes as the United captain, in what can only be described as a massive snub for the England man.

On MUTV (via The Daily Mail), Ten Hag said of Fernandes “he’s our captain”. The manager followed that up at yesterday’s pre-match press conference for the Aston Villa tie by praising Fernandes for making himself available for Thursday’s match against Spurs, saying “Once again, he showed there how great captain he is, how he has taken responsibility, even if he is not 100 per cent fit.”

With Maguire withdrawn from the same match through injury despite not having played last weekend, Ten Hag’s words could also hint at his disappointment with the 30 year old for not taking the same responsibility as the Portuguese.

It is laudable that Maguire would want to push on at Old Trafford and silence the critics, but surely there is no way back after these hammer blows this week.

Even if Ten Hag, the rest of the team and the fans could all be convinced by his form, consistency, confidence and leadership abilities, two big issues would still remain. First, speed and acceleration are requirements for a defender in the high-line defensive system United now play, and these are weaknesses in Maguire’s game.

Second, he would still be competing with multiple Champions League and World Cup winner Raphael Varane for the right centre back role, a Rolls Royce footballer who would get into many people’s world XI in that position.

Two years ago I questioned here whether Maguire’s price tag was part of the reason that the club was bending over backwards to accommodate his failings rather than moving on and accepting that it was a bad fit. Rojo’s comments do not, therefore, come as a surprise.

The fact that the situation has gone on so long and that it has got worse rather than better must mean that this is the end of the road for Harry Maguire at Manchester United, not because he is a bad footballer but because he was never the right fit, either as a player or as captain, at Manchester United.

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