Harry Maguire endured a gruesome third season at Manchester United, with the England international becoming the country’s target as the 2021/22 season came to an end.
Maguire’s indifferent form has led to intense scrutiny at both club and international levels, with his captaincy at Manchester United now under question.
Less than 12 months ago, Maguire was named in the UEFA Team of the Tournament following a spectacular run to the EURO 2020 final.
Unfortunately, the 29-year-old could not extend that form into the following season but he has now been backed to bounce back from this setback by United hero Wes Brown, who has described some of the criticism thrown Maguire’s way as ‘over the top’.
“Some of the criticism thrown at Maguire was over the top, but this is how football works these days. People get on social media, they start wading into players and momentum builds behind that criticism and Harry has been a victim of that,” Brown is heard saying at a Bookmakers event, according to The Independent.
“He has been booed by England fans, written off by United supporters on Twitter and it all seems pretty harsh. I get it that fans are disappointed, we all were after what we saw last season. So it is inevitable that people will pick out certain players and blame them.
“Maguire has been at the top of that list and I get it. He’s the captain and he hasn’t been playing well, so he will get hammered. When you are playing for Manchester United, the standards and expectations are on a different level to most other clubs and all of the players didn’t reach that last season.
“We know Harry is a good defender. At the Euros last summer, he was one of the best players in the tournament and that wasn’t long ago. There were times in my career when I was playing bad and there is nowhere to hide when you are at a club as big as United.
“Now it’s all about how Harry bounces back from the position he finds himself in and I’m sure Ten Hag will want him in his team if the Maguire of 12 months ago is revived. I hope Maguire uses this summer to clear his head, come to pre-season with a new mentality and start again.”
Maguire’s sudden turn in form was surprising to most people – especially after that impressive campaign in the European Championship. The cause of it is unknown but it will be in Erik ten Hag’s best interests to get the best out of Maguire again.
At his peak, he remains one of the best defenders in the Premier League and it would be a waste to not capture that. Furthermore, Ten Hag will be aware of the investment United made in the former Leicester star. With three years remaining on his deal, Maguire is unlikely to earn a new contract but his Old Trafford career is far from done.
He will also be desperate to prove the doubters wrong after despicably being booed by England supporters earlier this year. He’s unlikely to be met by that hostile reception at Old Trafford.