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Football

Graeme Souness says criticism of Harry Maguire is 'vile'

Ryan Sidle

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Graeme Souness says criticism of Harry Maguire is 'vile'

Graeme Souness has hit back at the 'vile' abuse that Manchester United captain Harry Maguire has received, claiming the defender has never been at fault for one of the team's losses.

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Maguire has come under increasing criticism for his form both for his club and country in recent months, as things continue to go wrong for him.

Erik ten Hag kept him on as United captain but his has only started three games in all competitions this season, all of which have been the team's only losses.

He was still called up to Gareth Southgate's side for the Nations League games in the past two weeks, which fans were not particularly happy about, and ended up starting both games.

In the second match, against Germany, with England already having been relegated, Maguire gave away the penalty that saw the visitors open the scoring.

Maguire gives away the penalty vs Germany. Image: Alamy
Maguire gives away the penalty vs Germany. Image: Alamy

One fan went viral after the game, going full on Monday Night Football mode to explain to his girlfriend why the centre back was out of position for one chance, constantly pausing it and playing it in slow motion.

But now Souness has stuck up for the defender, claiming that the abuse he gets goes too far, calling it 'vile,' and claiming he's never been alone in fault for a United defeat.

"I knew nothing like the level of abuse Harry Maguire gets, though," Souness wrote in his Daily Mail column, comparing the abuse to what he got as a play, "and it astonishes me, even though it seems to be part of the world we now live in.

"Eric Dier was talking last week about the stick his own family get at grounds. This is a level of hate I didn’t know as a player.

"Some of it is dished out through social media, which is a world to be avoided at all costs for players. Maguire will go on there to apologise for a Manchester United performance and then get hammered for doing so.

"...Maguire is at particular risk of the kind of pile-on we’re seeing because a failing Manchester United made him the most expensive central defender in the world and then made him their captain.

Maguire has started on the bench for all of United's wins this season. Image: Alamy
Maguire has started on the bench for all of United's wins this season. Image: Alamy

"So he becomes a lightning rod for all United’s ills. All the club’s failings are piled at his door. Ridiculous. I can’t remember a game United lost because of Harry Maguire alone.

"He has been guilty of making mistakes. But if you make a mistake in that position, it generally leads to an effort on your goal. You’re relying on having good central midfielders in front of you, putting the ball under pressure, trying to protect you at all times, making sure that if a ball is played through into your area, it’s of no great quality.

"United’s players in those central midfield positions haven’t been good enough.

"...It’s the level of abuse which is bewildering, though. I witness it at games and it’s water off a duck’s back to me now. I’m of a certain age and a certain character where nothing really bothers me.

Souness is well known for his criticism of Paul Pogba and he again blamed the players playing in front of Maguire, despite Pogba no longer being at Old Trafford. Image: Alamy
Souness is well known for his criticism of Paul Pogba and he again blamed the players playing in front of Maguire, despite Pogba no longer being at Old Trafford. Image: Alamy

"But if you’re a public figure today, you are apparently there to be ridiculed and that seems to be accepted. That’s the 21st century. That’s 2022.

"I particularly despise the keyboard warriors we have now. Faceless pygmies who will write abuse about someone, knowing that they will never be confronted. Knowing no one will ever find out who they are and who is spouting all this vile hate."

Followers of Souness' punditry might find it somewhat ironic that he thinks no one should take total blame for United losing a game, considering his five years of criticism of Paul Pogba.

Even with the midfielder having now left for Juventus, it's interesting that the Scotsman blamed midfielders for not giving Maguire the necessary help.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Graeme Souness, Manchester United, Harry Maguire, Premier League

Ryan Sidle
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