Harry Maguire had an evening to forget during England's 1-0 defeat to Denmark on Wednesday.
The Manchester United captain has endured a terrible 2020 with problems both on and off the pitch being compounded with the second quickest red card ever received by a Three Lions player.
Maguire was given his marching orders after just 31 minutes for two yellow cards with the second foul stemming from a terrible first touch when he had over 10 yards of space.
Tough 2020 for Maguire
It's a situation that fits all-too well with the narrative of Maguire's season after coming under fire for his woeful mistake for Tottenham Hotspur's equaliser in their historic 6-1 humiliation.
That's not to mention Maguire's arrest in Greece during the summer, which saw him given a suspended prison sentence, though the United captain denies all the allegations against him.
While it would be wholly presumptuous to try and read Maguire's mind, there's good reason to think that everything that's been going on away from the pitch has impacted his performances.
Van der Vaart's Maguire vendetta
Well, in amongst the negativity surrounding Maguire, the absence of one man's comments leaves the biggest hole of all and we are, of course, talking about Rafael van der Vaart.
That's because the Dutchman seems to have expressed something of a vendetta against Maguire since he joined United with a series of scathing comments about the world-record defender.
And in the wake of his red card against Denmark, footage of Van der Vaart's initial reaction to his move to Old Trafford during an appearance on Sky Sports has once again gone viral.
Reaction to Man Utd move
“It’s funny because during the Nations League, I was doing work for Dutch television,” he said. “And I remember we were saying ‘Harry Maguire was by far the worst player on the pitch’.
“And then, two months later [he transferred for] £90million.” Check out the video down below:
Sunday League comments
Two months later, the criticism intensified with Van der Vaart saying: “When I go to see an amateur club on Sunday, I can find three players who can play like him (Maguire). I mean that.
“It might be silly to say it, but he won’t hear it anyway. We are talking about a €90 million signing here. (If Maguire is worth €90 million) then Van Dijk is worth €300 million.”
Infamous wife quote
However, that was just the beginning because the ex-Tottenham hero went one further during a rant on Dutch TV station Ziggo after Maguire's error against Bournemouth in July.
Van der Vaart said: “I think Maguire goes home every day and tells his wife: ‘I screw up, but I earn so much. They really believe I’m good.’ I really think so, he laughs at everyone.”
GIVEMESPORT's Kobe Tong says
I'm a really not a fan of Van der Vaart's comments, to be honest.
At the expense of making it sound like a playground dispute, it's hard to imagine the former Real Madrid man speaking to Maguire in such hyperbolic fashion to his face.
Frankly, Van der Vaart is giving off vibes that he's amplifying a genuine opinion of Maguire's flaws to the point of self-parody to attract attention because the wife line in particular really crosses a line.
Regardless of the Greece situation and whether or not Maguire is guilty, footballers are ultimately just doing their job whenever they're on the pitch and we have to be sensitive about criticism.
Was Maguire poor against Denmark and Tottenham? Of course he was and that shouldn't be hidden away, but there comes a point when the knife is being driven in for the sake of attention.
I sincerely hope that if Van der Vaart's apparent vendetta against Maguire resurfaces that it's handled with a little more decorum and empathy between professionals.
- Maguire and the 18 England players sent off
- Maguire sent off after 30 mins vs Denmark
- Nine Harry Maguire mistakes that went viral