Manchester United’s coaching staff appreciate Harry Maguire‘s ability in possession but retain significant reservations about other aspects of his gameplay.
This is according to ESPN’s Rob Dawson, who indicates that despite a fruitful international break with England, Maguire still faces an uphill battle to guarantee his future at Old Trafford.
As per Dawson, Maguire’s exploits with the Three Lions during games against Italy and Ukraine are likely to do little to persuade Erik ten Hag to ditch his preferred centre-back partnership of Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane.
That Maguire, despite starting and playing every single minute of England’s first win against Italy since 1961 still felt the need to come out swinging and defend himself in the public domain is evidence of his current predicament.
Maguire remarked that as United captain and England’s highest-goalscoring defender, he has no reason to prove anything to anyone – sentiments that did not go down well across certain quarters of the fanbase.
In his report, Dawson details Maguire’s internal struggles at Old Trafford, including his obsession with social media in an effort to determine what angry supporters are saying about his performances.
“Maguire was keen to accept the captaincy when it was offered to him by Solskjaer following his £80 million move from Leicester in 2019, but according to sources, it has come with more pressure and scrutiny than he expected.”
“Sources have told ESPN that Maguire can, on occasion, focus too much on social media criticism despite being advised to stay off Twitter in the immediate aftermath of matches.”
“It didn’t help last season that he also became caught up in dressing room politics involving Cristiano Ronaldo. According to sources, Ronaldo wanted to be captain and said as much to Rangnick, who took over as caretaker when Solskjaer was sacked in November 2021. Rangnick declined.”
Dawson narrates an ugly episode in which Maguire’s family members were the subject of abuse from a small group of fans while in an Italian restaurant in Bergamo. This incident followed the Red Devils’ 5-0 thumping at the hands of Liverpool in October 2021, where Maguire was culpable for a number of the goals conceded.
United were in Italy for a Champions League fixture just days after the Liverpool defeat.
As a result of the heckling directed at them, the United captain’s family had to leave the restaurant.
Dawson adds, “Sources have told ESPN that United’s coaching staff like Maguire’s ability on the ball, but they also have concerns about his tendency to rush out to win challenges and a perceived lack of mobility.”
“Opportunities have been few this season, largely because United have only lost three times when Varane and Martinez have started together.”
With Maguire’s time at United increasingly looking like it has come to an end, a summer exit when the transfer window opens is on the cards.
Reasonable offers for the 30-year-old will be considered, especially if Ten Hag chooses to dip into the market and add another defender to the ranks.