Harry Maguire, Gareth Southgate and those naughty Scotland fans

Harry Maguire, Gareth Southgate and those naughty Scotland fans
BRENTFORD, ENGLAND - AUGUST 13: Harry Maguire of Manchester United looks on during the Premier League match between Brentford FC and Manchester United at Brentford Community Stadium on August 13, 2022 in Brentford, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Completely off-topic, but we wanted to have a look at Harry Maguire and all the chaos surrounding Manchester United and England’s hapless defender, who gets a lot of flack and is majorly in the news now for how his national manager, or ‘dad’, Gareth Southgate, slammed the criticism off the back of Scotland fans ironically cheering Maguire after yet another calamity at the back.

There is only one man originally to blame for the mess Harry Maguire has ended up in, and amazingly, it’s not Maguire. It’s Ole Gunnar Solskjær.

When Liverpool signed Southampton’s Virgil Van Dijk, they did so for a world record for a defender, £75M, and for a time, it looked a bargain as the Dutchman became the peerless best in his position. Jurgen Klopp definitely nailed the signing.

Unfortunately it all fell apart for Van Dijk when he got a monster injury the season after Liverpool won the title.

Nevertheless, this signing lit up English football and gave a lot of attention to Liverpool – and Man Utd hate Liverpool.

So what did Utd under the Norwegian do?

They signed Leicester City’s title-winning Harry Maguire, for £5M more, so that THEY would have the world’s most expensive defender (and hopefully, in their eyes, the best, to pour cold water over VVD and Liverpool).

It was a petty signing, purely based on rivalry, and there was no technical evidence Maguire was the right fit for Utd.

See, he was coming from a team that was all about counter attacks, letting the opponent have the ball and hitting on the sucker punch. It won them the league after all. He didn’t need to read the play too much, and he lacked pace – what he needed was power and timing – and these things he did have. Once upon a time.

But at United? 90% possession and every match must-win?

Completely the wrong team, but of course he’s not going to say no.

And as such, his game was completely exposed for its limitations, and he’s become a figure of fun and humiliation, for the way his and England’s style has magnified his weaknesses, and now sadly for him, he’s a washed-up joke of a defender, making calamity after calamity because his confidence is gone.

Southgate’s reaction of slaughtering the Scotland fans for mocking the lad was ridiculous – Harry Maguire should not be playing for England, especially given Ten Taag has sussed he doesn’t work in Man Utd colours and now doesn’t play, and yet the national boss keeps picking him, letting him screw it up, before defending him resolutely.

If Southgate is trying to ‘protect’ Maguire he’s making a pig’s ear of it. He’s putting an incompetent and low-confidence defender in a position to make mistakes, then playing the victim himself when opposition fans make fun of it.

Yes, there’s no denying Maguire suffers some abuse too, and there’s no call for that stuff, but Southgate is part of the problem – he’s causing much of it himself.

Maguire needs to go to a smaller club, a West Ham or whoever, and get some games under his best, some strong displays for a team that suits his game; he doesn’t need to be playing for England and being embarrassed for his latest error.

Andrew Robertson made a pig’s ear himself of a clearance, but it was quickly forgotten because his game suits Liverpool and Scotland and he’s otherwise a borderline world class player.

Maguire is a long way off this, and people like Southgate are just making it worse – the only one protecting Maguire is Ten Taag.

Maguire is a decent guy, but his career has gone to utter mince – he really needs a clean break and a different team, and also to withdraw from England for a while.

Because his ‘dad’ ain’t helping him one bit.

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