Manchester United captain Harry Maguire had an afternoon to forget on Sunday.
Well, to clarify, there wasn’t really a single United player who could their head high during the 6-1 demolition they suffered against Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford.
But we’d be lying if we said Maguire wasn’t singled out for particular criticism, paving the way for Tottenham to get back into the game after Bruno Fernandes’ penalty opener.
Maguire and Man Utd struggling
That’s because Maguire dropped a series of defensive clangers that culminated in Tanguy Ndombele being able to thrash the ball past David de Gea from a matter of yards.
The England international twice failed to head the ball clear and viral footage actually showed him pulling down his own player, Luke Shaw, just seconds before Spurs found the net.
It’s the latest in a long line of defensive errors that have blighted Maguire since he completed his world-record move for a defender from Leicester City to United last summer.
Maguire’s worst mistakes at Man Utd
That, and there have been claims that Maguire should be stripped of the captaincy with some United fans noticing his muted reaction when Anthony Martial received a red card for violent conduct.
But regardless of where you stand on Maguire’s 15 months in the famous red jersey, there can be no denying that there have been too many sloppy errors for a centre-back of his quality.
As a result, we decided to put Maguire’s United spell under the spotlight by flagging up nine times that the 27-year-old came under fire for a defensive error – check out the selections down below:
1. Immediately dribbled past vs Wolves
This might seem harsh, but let’s cast our reminds back to the summer of 2019 when there was a Maguire vs Virgil van Dijk debate raging and the ‘dribbled past’ statistic took centre stage.
And while Van Dijk went the entirety of the 2018/19 campaign without being dribbled past in club football, Maguire was all-too easily planted on his backside in just his second game for United.
2. Kicking controversy vs Chelsea
By far the most unique entry on the list considering this isn’t really a defensive error, but it could have cost United one of their most valuable results on the way to third in the Premier League.
That’s because, by all accounts, it looked as though Maguire ever so slightly flicked his boot into Michy Batshuayi and surely a VAR review should have seen him sent off for his actions.
3. Sent to the floor vs Partizan
There have been a few occasions in Maguire’s short United career where he seems to have either struggled for balance or committed to a tackle too soon and that’s exactly what happened here.
It should come as no surprise that Maguire essentially being placed in the press-up position by a pretty bang average skill in the Europa League went viral on social media for all the wrong reasons.
4. Hairdryer treatment from Roy Keane
We could try and do this particular mistake justice with our own evaluation, but we’re pretty sure nothing we could write would compare to Keane’s verbal, half-time tirade in the Sky Sports studio.
“I am staggered at Maguire, staggered that an international player can just get done by this,” Keane ranted. “Maguire and De Gea – I wouldn’t even let them on the bus after the match.
“Get a taxi back to Manchester. Shocking! Maguire, I am disgusted with him and De Gea. You should hang your heads in shame.”
5. Nutmeg humiliation vs Bournemouth
United put on an attacking masterclass during their 5-2 thrashing of the Cherries, but Maguire almost cost them at the other end of the pitch when Junior Stanislas bagged an opening goal.
The former Hull and Leicester centre-back was beaten far too easily with a nutmeg in his own penalty area, before watching in horror as Stanislas proceeded to beat De Gea at his near post.
6. Marking his own player vs Southampton
Only Maguire can explain what was going on here because United almost tripped over their own legs in the race for the Champions League places when they conceded a late Saints equaliser.
And replays of Michael Obafemi’s heartbreaker bizarrely showed that Maguire was more interested in manhandling his own player, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, before the corner simply floated over his head.
7. All-round disasterclass vs Chelsea
We considered honing in on some of Maguire’s individual errors from the FA Cup semi-final defeat from some of his terrible passing out from the back to his questionable marking of Olivier Giroud.
But in the end, we decided, sadly for Maguire, that the performance in general was worthy of a place on the list and you can check out a full video of his nightmare under the Wembley arch down below:
8. ‘No-look defending’ vs Sevilla
Let’s get one thing straight: United’s defending was pretty woeful across the board during the Sevilla defeat – we’re looking at you, Brandon Williams – so Maguire is by no means alone with this one.
That being said, he probably is alone in having inspired the phrase ‘no-look defending’ when replays inexplicably showed him turning away from goal seconds before Suso fired home an equaliser.
9. Pulling down Luke Shaw vs Tottenham
And that brings us to the moment that inspired the list. We’re pretty sure that Maguire is the only person who can explain why he manhandled Shaw to the extent he brought him to ground.
Even if his reasoning was watertight, though, his preceding headers straight into Eric Bailly and then towards his own six-yard box dug United’s grave long before the wrestling.
GIVEMESPORT’s Kobe Tong says
It might be unpopular to say, but Maguire is one of the best defenders in the world on his day.
Sadly, though, I have to concede that Maguire hasn’t been anywhere near that standard over the last few months and we can’t ignore the off-the-pitch factors that may be at play here.
Before the commencement of the new season, Maguire was arrested for a incident in Greece for which he was given a suspended prison sentence of 21 months and 10 days.
Maguire has vehemently denied the claims and although it would be presumptuous to say it impacted his game at the weekend, it must have damaged his preparations for the campaign.
Footballers, at the end of the day, are humans, so it’s only natural that their work would be impacted by what’s going on in their lives more broadly.
Whether or not that’s the case with Maguire, we simply can’t say, but it must be acknowledged when his form at United right now falls so far short of the incredible quality we know he possesses.
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