After a dismal season with Manchester United Harry Maguire found himself under fresh scrutiny and facing renewed criticism after failing to convince in England’s 1-1 Nations League draw with Germany
If Harry Maguire thought there would be some respite from the criticism aimed his way now Manchester United’s wretched season is over, the much-maligned center-back was sadly mistaken.
Maguire, who became the fall-guy for United’s worst season in Premier League history, suffered further abuse and finger-pointing following England’s 1-1 Nations League draw with Germany. The United skipper was caught out midway through the first-half, when he found himself on the wrong side of Kai Havertz, tried to hold him off, but ended up falling to the ground, allowing Jonas Hofmann to run on to the ball and score past Jordan Pickford.
Luckily for Maguire, the goal was ruled out for offside against Hofmann, but the 28-year-old had shown once again that he remains an accident waiting to happen, in terms of his defensive positioning and reading of the game. Maguire’s relief was short-lived, as Hofmann eventually got the goal he deserved, five minutes after the restart, with many observers blaming the United center-back for being out of position and not picking up Germany winger’s run.
Pickford was equally culpable, failing to deal with Hofmann’s shot, which although was hit with some power, was essentially straight at the Everton goalkeeper. Yet it was Maguire, predictably, who bore the brunt of the criticism from England fans on social media.
When England’s upcoming Nations League games against Italy and Hungary are out of the way, Maguire will be afforded four weeks off to rest and recharge, physically and mentally, before returning for pre-season under new United boss Erik ten Hag.
Ten Hag was diplomatic when asked about Maguire and the question of the United captaincy, when he was officially introduced at Old Trafford on May 23. But Maguire knows he faces a battle to convince ten Hag of his enduring value after such a torrid season for United , one in which he lost his place towards the end of the campaign.
HAVE YOUR SAY! Will Maguire come good at Old Trafford? Let us know in the comments section
Action Images via Reuters)
The understanding from United is that ten Hag is willing to give Maguire a chance, but the newly-appointed coach believes a new central defensive partner – Ajax’s Jurrien Timber is the first-choice target – could ultimately jolt the England international from his malaise. Maguire’s dramatic loss of form is all the more baffling given how impressive he was in his second full season at United, form he took into Euro 2020, when he played a key role in England’s run to the final, only to lose to Italy on penalties .
Ten Hag’s decision to reduce the size of some of the training pitches at United’s Carrington training ground, to improve the squad’s passing, control and ability on the ball in tight spaces, could ultimately benefit Maguire, who too often finds himself stranded and in the wrong areas.
But ten Hag’s handling of Maguire is key and will determine whether he can rediscover his very best form or if he is destined to be a squad player at United next season, ultimately leading to an inevitable and ignominious exit.