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Harry Maguire: Why Man Utd defender deserves credit for recent form



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Cue absolute chaos at the mention of he who must not be named.

As I type though, Harry Maguire is more resemblant to the character whose name he shared in the beloved fictional series in the eyes of Manchester United fans, having scored the winning goal in a crucial Champions League game against FC København.

This euphoric high follows a Man of the Match performance on Saturday night against his boyhood club, Sheffield United, again in an important win for The Reds.

Complaints were made on social media platform X, formally known as Twitter, about some of the commentary regarding one statistic in particular, stating United’s recent record with Maguire starting under Erik ten Hag. People felt as though there was a clear agenda being pushed for him. Possibly there was.

But, it’s easy to forget that for a long time, there was a clear agenda being pushed against him, one that hit truly brutal levels at points.

There has always been a target on his back since he moved to Old Trafford for a mega fee of £80 million, but Maguire was at a point universally recognised as the biggest meme in football.

The media agenda was brutal, he was often booed at stadiums by his own fans – for club and country, was targeted on social media along with his family, and at a point even had a bomb threat sent to his house.

Many footballers wouldn’t be able to handle this, and many would hit out publicly, but Maguire has remained as professional as he can.

Even this summer, when he looked very close to leaving and though there was no way back for him at Old Trafford, along with being stripped of the captaincy, he has continued to work hard and expressed that as long as he remains at Old Trafford he will fight for his place.

A horror injury situation at the club has seen him thrown back into the mix, and in the two games United have played since returning from the international break, he has been the one playing as though he is the captain of the club, showcasing leadership at a time United have lacked it on the field.

Maguire has produced the kind of performances he did in his best days at Old Trafford, and it is easy to forget that at a point he was considered amongst the top centre-backs in the Premier League. He has dominated the air, passed with more conviction, and been much more confident in his defensive actions.

To do this after going through all that he has had to go through is exceptional.

Despite the narratives that circulated on social media after a moment in pre-season where André Onana told his player off, playing with the Cameroonian goalkeeper has been one factor in inspiring Maguire’s confidence. His proactive nature and willingness to get involved in possession have both exacerbated Maguire’s strengths and covered his weaknesses.

This is not to say that Maguire is the answer to United’s problems, or that he should get the armband back – arguably the relieved pressure has been another factor in his renewed form – but he has been through an incredible amount for the last two years at least, and has showcased incredible resilience to get through it.

It’s about time he got some love.