Arsenal icon Martin Keown believes Manchester United have been unfair with former captain Harry Maguire
Arsenal legend Martin Keown has criticised Manchester United for scapegoating their former captain, Harry Maguire, since falling down the pecking order at the club.
The English centre-back has become an easy target for football fans due to his performances in the 176 matches he has played for the club since 2019.
Lately, the 30-year-old has faced boos from fans during league matches, which could have an undesirable impact on his morale.
The former Leicester City star’s own performances have occasionally contributed to this issue, particularly in some matches during the 2021-2022 season under managers Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick, as well as in a few towards the end of the previous season.
However, Arsenal icon Keown believes that things have been rough for Maguire since his exclusion from the starting XI. He admits that the main problem lies with the midfield unit and not the veteran player.
“I do feel he [Maguire] gets a lot of unfair criticism. I do feel he’s a scapegoat for the Manchester United supporters.”
“I do feel that things have not got much better since he has come out of the team. It is really the midfield that is the issue and Harry Maguire is not necessarily the problem.”
Fans often overlook Maguire’s contributions, such as helping the club secure two top-four finishes in the Premier League and reach a European final.
Additionally, the English star’s leadership qualities were praised by Solskjaer in 2020, leading to his appointment as the club captain. Furthermore, the experienced defender’s remarkable consistency while representing England has gone under the radar.
Despite his decent performances in crucial matches for the national team since his international debut, he has even faced boos from fans when playing for England. Critics have unfairly blown out of proportion Maguire’s below-par performances, both at his club and for the national team.
It may be a relief for his mental well-being that he’s no longer burdened with the captain’s armband, which had often been used as a scapegoat for United’s past underwhelming displays.
The player has been making mistakes in certain matches, and the lack of support seems to have hit his confidence. As of now, the question of whether Maguire will depart from his current club in the future remains uncertain.
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However, if he can rebuild his confidence, there’s every reason to believe he will thrive once more at his future club or in his current atmosphere. Hopefully, he will find his confidence and gather the respect he rightfully deserves from the fans.
But right now, his chances of being a regular under Erik ten Hag look slim. Bruno Fernandes is the permanent successor to Maguire, as he’s a reliable choice who rarely gets injured and takes on leadership responsibilities.
It’s clear that Ten Hag has made sure that United moves past the Solskjaer era.