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Source: Agency

Manchester United : Harry Maguire and his blunders

| 8.3.22 |
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Harry Maguire

 In addition to being an extension of the coach on the field, the captain is a role model for his teammates, and becomes a general description of the condition of the team itself. If the captain is able to set a good example, then the team will play well too. Even if this captain was temperamental, as long as his example was positive, with a strong leadership spirit, everything should be fine. We certainly remember, how Sergio Ramos was able to lead the ranks of star players at Real Madrid, just like Roy Keane at Manchester United. 

They are temperamental and do not hesitate to play rough, but proved capable of being a successful team captain. In a sense, they are respected by friends and foes, as well as being able to be an encouragement when the team is down. The problem is, if the captain is "diligent" to set a bad example. Not because of bad behavior off the pitch, but from poor performances on the pitch. As a result, he has become a player who is liked by opponents, but feared by his teammates and supporters. This case is rare, but this is what happened at Manchester United, with Harry Maguire as captain. Coming as the most expensive central defender in the world at a cost of 80 million pounds in 2019, this 194 cm tall player does have a good record at Leicester City and is quite reliable in the England national team. At first glance, the track record of the former Hull City player looks convincing, similar to Virgil Van Dijk's track record at Southampton, even a little better, because he successfully helped the England national team qualify for the 2018 World Cup semifinals. Incidentally, the Dutchman also came to Liverpool, as the world's most expensive centre-back at a cost of £75 million, a year and a half earlier. 

From here, we can see, United are trying to imitate Liverpool's steps, and are not ashamed to admit it. Incidentally, both Van Dijk and Maguire are both tall and big doorstoppers. But, time shows, there is a paradox between the two of them. Maguire instead transformed into a team captain who was feared by his teammates and supporters. The defender numbered 5 often makes blunders and displays witty actions. Starting from marking your own friends during corner kicks, making tackles without seeing the direction of your opponent's movement, nutmeg yourself, even scoring goals against your own goal. Ironically, at the same time, Virgil Van Dijk was able to command Liverpool's back line, and help the team to win the Premier League. His quality and toughness has also proven mentally tough, having been able to perform well after being sidelined for almost a year with a severe knee injury. Most recently, the Carabao Cup trophy was successfully won at the end of February 2022.

Here, the price of 75 million pounds paid by Liverpool to Soton actually looks "cheap", because his technical and mental qualities have proven to be okay. A perfect proof, from a player whose price was questioned. VVD's mental qualities even earned him a contract extension until 2025, shortly after recovering from injury. What about Maguire? Blunder after blunder still likes to do. Several times he was the culprit of United's defeat, such as when beaten by Liverpool 0-5 and Manchester City 1-4. A mediocre performance for the size of the world's most expensive centre-back and captain of a team like Manchester United. Not surprisingly, criticism and pressure to remove the captain's armband also strengthened. United's "copy paste experiment" strategy also proved to be a failure, because this 100 kilogram player only consistently performed well in the England national team. The price is indeed more expensive than the VVD, but not with the quality. Instead of finding a defender of equal quality to Van Dijk, United have found the perfect successor to Phil Jones, a defender who often displays blunders and jokes. Luckily, interim coach Ralf Rangnick still supports this 29-year-old player. 

His position as an England national team player also made him a little saved. There was criticism, but not as sadistic as other players are used to, especially those from outside England. Perhaps, this is the privilege that only the most expensive English player in his position has. If Maguire wasn't English, he would have long been the subject of the British media, and been kicked out of Old Trafford. However, Maguire's poor performance is also inseparable from the chaos within United's internals lately. Unfortunately, Maguire as the captain of the team seemed unable to do much, and instead showed clearly what kind of chaos was going on at city rivals Manchester City. On the field, the change of coach meant that the team did not have a patent game system, while off the field, the atmosphere in the dressing room was less harmonious, due to the strong ego of a star player, and Maguire proved to be incompetent in his duties as team captain. I don't know what's really going on at Manchester United, but the chaos they have shown lately has illustrated how complicated the situation is, with the captain of the team as a simple representation.


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