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Manchester City Defender Backs Harry Maguire Amidst Manchester United Form and Captaincy Criticism

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Manchester City Defender Backs Harry Maguire Amidst Manchester United Form and Captaincy Criticism

After not enjoying the best of seasons at club level last year, Manchester City’s John Stones jumped to the defence of England teammate, and Manchester United captain, Harry Maguire who has been under fire of late.

Maguire joined the Old Trafford side from Leicester City for a reported fee of £80 million in the summer of 2019 — making him the most expensive defender of all time to this day. The 29-year-old took well to life at the Premier League giant, inheriting the captain’s armband from the departing Ashley Young almost immediately. 

The Sheffield United academy graduate did well initially, establishing himself as a pillar of United’s defence and massively improving the performances of the back line. However, the 2021/22 season was by far the worst in his time at the Theatre of Dreams, with some often unforgiving opinions being thrown around about the defender. 

“I think some of the criticism that I’ve seen personally and over this season has been harsh,” the Manchester City defender said at an England press conference before the Three Lions faced Germany on Tuesday evening.

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“I don’t want to get into that but I think how he’s conducted himself on and off the pitch, he should be extremely proud of that and, all I can say is, I enjoy playing with Harry and I hope that we can do that for many more years to come.” 

Harry Magiure has received a lot of performance-related criticism over the last year | Credit: Alamy
Harry Magiure has received a lot of performance-related criticism over the last year | Credit: Alamy

Despite having an evident form drop off at club level, Maguire has never really let England down — being an integral part of their excellent World Cup and European Championship runs in 2018 and 2020 respectively. 

This goes to show that perhaps United experiencing an overall drop off as a whole has also played a part in the deterioration of not only Maguire, but also many other players in the club’s ranks. 

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Stones went on to praise Maguire not only as a player, but also as a person, and expressed his hopes and excitement for continuing to play alongside United’s No. 5. 

“I hope we can keep playing together and building this partnership,” Stones said. “He is an incredible person off the pitch, first and foremost, and an incredible partner to play with on the pitch. I used to play against Harry as a kid and I knew his quality then.” 

Stones’ comments will come as a rare piece of positive feedback in the media for the United skipper of late as Maguire and the team continued to struggle to end their Premier League campaign. The Reds finished sixth and will play Europa League football next season. 

Now, with a new manager in Erik ten Hag coming in, common dialogue in the press and on social media involves Maguire’s armband and whether the Dutch manager will even find a use for the defender in his system that favours playing a high line. 

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The summer transfer window is set to open on Friday, June 10 and with new, often contrasting, reports surfacing frequently, Maguire’s future as captain and his playing time will likely be decided once he meets with the new United boss in the coming weeks.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Harry Maguire, John Stones, Manchester City, Manchester United, England

Arion Armeniakos
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