Harry Maguire’s decision to remain at Manchester United over the summer despite his struggles has come under scrutiny, particularly after his performance in England’s match against Scotland at Hampden Park. Scotland fans targeted Maguire, making him the subject of intense scrutiny and criticism.
While it’s possible that Maguire would have faced criticism regardless of his club choice, it’s clear that he needed a fresh start and more playing time in the Premier League to regain his form. Opting to stay at United, possibly due to financial considerations, seems to have backfired.
With the transfer window closed and Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag seemingly not favoring Maguire, the problem isn’t going away for the player or England manager Gareth Southgate. England has four matches before the transfer window reopens, and unless there’s a dramatic change in Maguire’s situation at United, he will continue to face questions during the upcoming international camps.
Southgate passionately defended Maguire against his critics, accusing them of conducting a witch hunt against a player who has been a longstanding leader for England. However, Southgate’s decision to bring Maguire on during the Scotland match may have contributed to the scrutiny. When Marc Guehi was injured at halftime, Southgate could have chosen to introduce young defender Levi Colwill instead, providing him with valuable experience in a challenging environment.
Despite the 2-0 lead for England and no immediate qualification points at stake, Maguire, a player already well-known to Southgate, was put in a precarious position. Maguire’s own goal in those circumstances had a certain dark humor to it, and his willingness to discuss it afterward exemplified his character. While Maguire’s leadership qualities are highly regarded, it’s essential to perform well on the pitch to justify a place in the England squad, or in Maguire’s case, to secure playing time at all.