- Club captain dropped at Old Trafford
- Exit talk has surfaced
- Centre-half impressed at 2022 World Cup
WHAT HAPPENED? Costly errors have crept into the England international’s game over the course of the last 18 months, leading to the club captain at Old Trafford being dropped to the bench by current coach Erik ten Hag. Questions have been asked of how long the 29-year-old will be sticking around with the Red Devils, with transfer talk surfacing, but Stam believes the no-nonsense centre-half can play his way back into form and favour.
WHAT THEY SAID: Stam, a 1999 Treble winner from his playing days at United, has – speaking in association with Football Betting – told GOAL of Maguire: “Before the World Cup he had a couple of games that weren’t too good, but generally he has been doing okay. At United he has been having a very difficult time, there has been a lot of pressure on his shoulders with what’s been going on and the amount of money they paid for him, the expectations that people have, which is normal. If you play at the top, you have to show yourself. For him, he needed to have a bit more support on the pitch around him – not just this year but the seasons before as well, so that things could become a bit easier for him. The manager now has made the decision to play [Lisandro] Martinez and [Raphael] Varane. They are great players and have been doing well. Martinez has stepped up since he came to United, showing his ability on the ball but also defending together with Varane in a good partnership. They are delivering what they need to do in terms of playing well and not conceding too many goals and winning games. That’s very important for the club.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Former Netherlands international Stam added on what Maguire needs to do in order to avoid being deemed surplus to requirements by United: “For Maguire, he needs to play. If he stays, and he probably wants to stay, he needs to pick his moments when he gets the opportunity – which he will get heading back into the season again. He needs to show that he is the better player, instead of the other two. It’s not going to be easy and every big team in the world needs to have at least four quality centre-backs because you know there are going to be suspensions, there are going to be injuries, the manager wants to rotate and then you need to prove yourself. But it’s not an easy situation for him because there is a lot of attention on him, people are saying things that are not making it easy for him to perform and you can see sometimes that he is trying his hardest not to make mistakes and to show people that he is a good player - but you need to not think about playing football, it needs to become something automatic when you are out there and to show your quality. If you are thinking too much in your head about what you need to do, then eventually you will make mistakes.”
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WHAT NEXT? United, with Maguire returned to their ranks after taking in 2022 World Cup duty with England, will be back in competitive action on Wednesday when facing Burnley in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup, before then facing Nottingham Forest in the Premier League on December 27.