Manchester United captain Harry Maguire has endured a torrid campaign following his stellar performances in the European Championship. The former Leicester man’s every touch is under the microscope and he has, unfortunately, become a scapegoat for this failing United side.
The 29-year-old’s reputation has taken a big hit this season despite being one of United’s most reliable players over the last three years.
Former Manchester United defender and now-icon Jaap Stam has spoken out on Maguire’s patchy form, insisting that all players go through bad spells. The Dutchman has insisted that Maguire will come out of his slump, hailing the skipper as a ‘good player’.
“I still think Harry is a good player, is a good defender,” Stam told the Independent. “You need to understand, every player – and I’ve had it myself as well – goes through rough spells that he’s having a hard time, the confidence is a bit low, he’s not feeling well, making mistakes.
“But when you cost 100 million and you’re making a mistake, yeah, the pressure on you is a lot more than when you’re costing a few quid.
“He’s played this season good games as well. Having this season now and maybe a new coach coming in, having a fresh start, (he will be) learning a lot from this season as well and what he’s done and what he needs to do.
“Does he need to make a change or not? Maybe having different players next to him or in front of him can help him out as well in terms of feeling more confident, so maybe next season you’ll see a total different player.”
Maguire’s case is a curious one because the issue isn’t glaringly obvious. He was outstanding at last summer’s European Championship and was named in the Team of the Tournament.
Just weeks earlier, the thought of not having him available for the Europa League final was enough to make any United fan quake in their boots, and his absence that night in Gdansk was telling.
United relied on Maguire for the entirety of last season and for the most part, he was carrying the United defence on his back whilst the other components failed to do the basics.
It’s easy to blame a player’s downwards spiral on poor confidence but it does feel like Maguire has hit a brick wall and it’s up to Erik ten Hag to reignite the fire within him. One thing’s for sure – Maguire was a costly investment and United will do everything to make sure it wasn’t in vain.