Harry Maguire excelled for England in last summer’s European Championship and was largely considered one of the tournament’s best players.
Maguire’s excellent outings came after barely putting a foot wrong for the entire calendar year, which earned him plaudits from all around the world prior to EURO 2020.
Former Italy and Juventus defender Fabio Cannavaro, who is just one of three defenders to win the coveted Ballon d’Or prize, has now become the latest to sing Maguire’s praises.
“Stones and Maguire have shown interesting things in recent years. They can both play football, defend and fear no one,” Cannavaro told The Sun.
“They are good individually and with the rest of the backline. They are points of reference for Manchester City and Man United — and undoubtedly the two best English defenders.
“When the going gets tough, they take responsibility and are not afraid of trying new things.
“But Chiellini still embodies the spirit of the Italian defender and that level of concentration needed to stop a striker in a difficult moment. Maguire and Stones play a totally different type of football and may lack a nasty streak at times. Which Giorgio has.
“Good players like Maguire will always be worth a lot and we should not be astonished when top clubs invest that amount on talented players.
“In Italy, we say that great strikers sell tickets but great defenders win matches. Players nowadays rightly cost and earn more money than before because of the finances around the game — and players are the main actors.”
Since that magical EURO 2020 campaign, Maguire has struggled to replicate that form and currently finds himself at a crossroads at Manchester United for the first time since joining in 2019.
Maguire is facing intense scrutiny from the media, with Roy Keane refusing to pass up on any opportunity to criticise the current Manchester United skipper.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will need Maguire in his best form when United return to action this weekend, with the Norwegian still fighting to keep his job at the club.
SN’s verdict on Cannavaro’s comments and Maguire’s form…
Cannavaro’s praise might come as a surprise to some people but anyone who watched the EURO 2020 final between England and Italy won’t be. Maguire was terrific for the entirety of the tournament but his majestic display at Wembley was the culmination of hard work – his penalty in the shootout was the cherry on top.
Of course, there is a lot of work to be done on Maguire’s part if he is to resurrect this season. As things stand, Manchester United have accumulated just 17 points from their first 11 Premier League games and Maguire is not without blame.
The 28-year-old has looked turgid and many wonder if the recent patchy form is down to his early return from injury. Regardless, two goals in as many games for England will certainly boost his confidence as United enter their most important run of fixtures.
Following the league clash at Vicarage Road this weekend, United make the trip to Villarreal before games against Chelsea and Arsenal.