West Ham United striker Michael Antonio urges backing for Manchester United ace Harry Maguire
West Ham United striker Michael Antonio has given his opinion on the situation surrounding Manchester United defender Harry Maguire. The striker believes that the Red Devils star needs a fresh start and lacks support after everything he has been through.
The 30-year-old United defender has faced unrelenting criticism from fans and pundits alike. Many criticisms may be justified due to the poor performances he had given during his tenure at United.
On the other hand, hate-filled rhetoric has prevailed at times, perhaps impacting his peace of mind. Maguire looks troubled and it is evident in the way he lacks composure on the field.
Antonio told the Footballer’s Football Podcast (h/t Manchester Evening News):
“He’s half a man now. He’s trying to stay strong; he’s trying to rebuild himself and he had opportunities to leave and opportunities to come to us, but he believes in his ability, but it’s not working for him. Honestly, I would’ve [moved to West Ham]. I would’ve wanted a clean slate for myself. I would’ve wanted to move away, start again and to rebuild myself because the people on his back are his own fans. So, for him to build himself again with a clean slate. At West Ham, everyone knows about him, everyone knows what he’s going through. We would’ve tried to build him up and give him that fresh start. Nobody has spoken up for him, I have on this podcast. He should be getting more backing. Someone needs to help.”
During the summer transfer window, West Ham agreed a fee in the region of £30 million to sign Maguire from United. The deal fell off when United and Maguire couldn’t come to an agreement and Erik ten Hag suggested he is “happy with Maguire” and the defender “has to fight for his place”.
The English international featured in the two games for his country during the September international break. Maguire had a good game against Ukraine despite the sign of rustiness due to a lack of playing time at United. The Euro 24 qualifying game between Ukraine and England ended in a 1-1 draw.
England played a friendly game away at Scotland to finish off the international break, which they won 1-3. Maguire came on as a substitute and unfortunately ended up scoring an own goal, bringing more unwanted attention towards the defender.
The mockery from Scottish fans was just the final straw. It riled the usually calm England manager Gareth Southgate enough to angrily call the treatment of Maguire “a joke.” Southgate went on to condemn commentators and pundits for continuously attacking Maguire.
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The continuous criticism, mockery, and abuse towards Maguire also pushed the defender’s mother to make an emotional statement on social media. Surely, he could do better if he gets more positive reinforcement than negativity.
Antonio made some valid points about Maguire’s confidence and the need for support. United’s participation in the Champions League raises questions about Ten Hag’s ability to rotate his squad effectively to maintain fitness amid a congested fixture schedule.
If that happens then Maguire will have ample opportunities to redeem his United career and prove his detractors wrong. Hopefully, he goes on to do just that.