Valuable player for England, disaster for Man United — what is wrong with Maguire?

 Valuable player for England, disaster for Man United — what is wrong with Maguire?

It was one of those nights his club needed him the most.

After a disappointing 2-2 draw at home, Manchester United travelled to Spain on Thursday seeking top performance against Sevilla to advance into the semi-final of the Europa League.

With the captain’s armband strapped to his arm, Harry Maguire carried the hopes of millions of fans and punters watching the game on his shoulders.

He was brought into the game to marshal the defence with Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane unavailable due to injuries.

However, he failed to deliver again on the big stage.

Maguire has been a shadow of himself at club level since he joined the Red Devils for a record fee of £80 million from Leicester City.

For England, the defender is an entirely different player as evidenced during the Three Lion’s run at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

But the reverse has been the case with Man United.

Against a rejuvenated Sevilla side on Thursday, Maguire misfired. He caught an anxious figure and lacked the composure as well as insight required from a top-class defender to neutralise threats from the opponents.

The outcome, of course, was a disaster. He was responsible for Youssef En-Nesyri’s first goal on the night, as he lost control of a pass from David De Gea.

The rest, they say, is history. Sevilla dominated the game with remarkable gusto and great precision in front of goal and advanced into the next stage of the competition with a comfortable 3:0 victory.

It is a case on one too many for the England international, who has done little, if any, to silence his critics.

“I think he (Maguire) is really struggling with the tempo of club football. The tempo of country/international football isn’t as high as that of club football,” Israel Igiri, a sports analyst, said.

“Also, I think he is down psychologically. Football and psychology are inseparable. I hope he bounces back soon.”

Footabll pundits have attributed Maguire’s dip in form at club level to various factors.

“He’s down in confidence. The constant criticisms he gets from Manchester United fans are really affecting him. The pressure is too much. He can’t cope with it,” Igiri adds.

“I think the amount United paid for him also increased the pressure to deliver. When a club pays £80m to acquire your services, you are expected to deliver instantly.

“And that is why a lot of players are struggling today. Look at Sancho. Look at Antony as well. They paid huge amount for them too. So, you have to deliver instantly.”

At a time when Manchester United are trying to build a formidable team under Erik Ten Hag, Maguire’s sloppiness at the heart of defence has remained a concern for fans.

“He should return to Leicester City,” Igiri said, weighing possible options the embattled player could consider.

Oluchi Eze, another sports analyst, also believes leaving Manchester United could be the turning point for the player.

“He should just leave the club ASAP,” she quipped.

Time to go, Maguire?

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