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Former Premier League Great Reveals Interesting Statistic About Manchester United's Harry Maguire

Cain Smith

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Former Premier League Great Reveals Interesting Statistic About Manchester United's Harry Maguire

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Martin Keown has jumped to the defence of Manchester United's Harry Maguire, while presenting a statistic to suggest that in the right environment the English defender will come good.

The former Arsenal defender was one of the best centre-backs in the league in his day, and he feels that criticism of the Red Devils no.5 has "fallen more into the abuse category and that's wrong".

There is little sympathy for the United captain following his poor campaign. It was revealed that he was one of six England players to play in the 'critical zone' for more than half of the season, but this didn't lead to much sympathy from supporters.

Keown believes that Maguire is a good player who is getting more criticism than he deserves.

"This isn’t the first time I’ve come to Maguire’s defence. I did it during the season, too." The former Premier League defender wrote on his Daily Mail column. "Fans and pundits can provide constructive criticism but at times, it’s felt like comments made about Maguire have fallen more into the abuse category and that’s wrong. 

"This is a good player who has taken on the pressure of captaining Manchester United and a central defender who has earned the trust of Gareth Southgate because he has been dependable."

Talking about his poor campaign, Keown believes that United's interim Ralf Rangnick was setting him up to fail in the system and hopes that new manager Erik ten Hag will look to play to his captain's strengths.

Keown also cites an interesting statistic that suggests Maguire has been unfortunate that his new partner Raphael Varane suffered so many injuries throughout the last term.

"He has been through a difficult period in terms of form. The way Ralf Rangnick wanted him to play, in a pressing system with a high defensive line, was different for Maguire and he looked a little uncomfortable with it.

Harry Maguire plays against Southampton. (Alamy)
Harry Maguire plays against Southampton. (Alamy)

"You hope Erik ten Hag will use him properly, noticing the statistics state United concede less than a goal a game and have lost just twice when Maguire and Raphael Varane start together."

Keown's interesting stat is surprisingly spot on, that is if you excluded the embarrassing FA Cup exit to Middlesbrough through penalties, which is fair when considering that the only goal conceded on the night was from one of the most obvious handball you'd see all season.

The pair that were supposed to click together instantly have had their troubles getting used to each other...mostly because they haven't been able to get used to each other.

Both players have had injuries and started just 14 games together in the Premier League and the Champions League.

Six of those games were victories, six were draws -- although one of them had Varane subbed in the first-half due to injury -- and just two were losses.

Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane lost just two games when starting together last season. (Alamy)
Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane lost just two games when starting together last season. (Alamy)

Once, against Atletico Madrid in the round-of-16 killer in Europe, and the other against Aston Villa in September.

The pair were a Bruno Fernandes penalty conversion away from having just one loss while starting together across the campaign, and that loss would've been to the La Liga holders at the time.

Perhaps the former defender Keown has a point in his assessment of Maguire. There is no doubt his form has been terrible, but himself and Varane have been unable to strike a partnership like fans would've wanted.

In great form, it was evident that Maguire could not partner Victor Lindelöf in a title challenging team, so when that form hit rock bottom it looked far worse.

Erik ten Hag will be hoping that he's able to prepare his team for the season and keep both of those defenders fit, and if Maguire can recreate his form of 2020/21, maybe United fans will finally be able to see a partnership blossom at the heart of their defence.

Topics: Harry Maguire, Raphael Varane, Martin Keown, Premier League, Champions League, Manchester United, Football

Cain Smith
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