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The centre-back dearth of 1971
I do have a question for Ian… Have you actually watched him play?
Seems you may have based your entire article missing the point that he just isn’t that great at football. He is obviously a good footballer, but good is not for a club like man united. Wouldn’t get into any united team since 1972.
And if you think he’s England’s best defender by a mile best not watch euro 21 if it gets played. There will be a lot strikers licking their lips.
Ade ( is it safe to come outside yet after villa defeat?) Guildford
I do appreciate that the role of the site is to provide ‘hot takes’ and ‘differing opinions’, to provide a fresh angle on a story — but c’mon Ian Watson’s PR puff piece about Maguire is ridiculous.
I’d argue that the criticism he’s currently getting is in fact totally proportionate, that he’s been spared any robust analysis for his poor form and mistakes over the past few years precisely because he is ‘good ol’ Harry, the pink inflatable riding, Meme busting, Slab headed, “Just a fan” who’s risen up the lower leagues to make it at United. One of our own. And yes, prior to the Greek Adventure, I’d probably say he seemed like a good lad too.
He’s a bang average defender, who had a decent world cup where he scored a goal, and excelled playing in a system where he could head balls away from his box. And never got turned around, where his lack of pace, and let’s be honest, his poor positioning too, could be exposed.
He got hyped up, name in the papers every week, got a big move to a club where they need to buy a ‘Big’ player every summer in order to paper over the cracks — and then when he initially showed that he could shout a bit and kick the ball more than one yard, he got hyped up to new levels by the likes of professional United cheerleaders like Rio and Custis. It’s what they do.
If he’s being pilloried now, it’s because he’s a 6/7 out of 10 defender who’s been treated like Virgil Van Maldini and now his fan club in the media are removing their support.
We do that, don’t we? Build ’em up and knock ’em down. It just used to take a few years — see Rooney, Wayne. But now, in line with our insta-culture, the cycle is much quicker. Mason Greenwood barely had time to enjoy being England’s bright young thing before they jumped on him in a cloud of Laughing Gas.
Keep up the good work!
Watson perhaps makes some fair points about Maguire, but overlooks a few things. His recent form is not good he acknowledges, however he seems to think recent is in the last few weeks.
Maguire has been pretty bad since May/June, footballs return. He has been the most woefully inconsistent of the Man Utd back 4 making mistakes time and again.
Here’s the thing. He’s a vastly overrated defender, and at times a not very good one. His positional sense is questionable at best. He has a terrible habit of drifting into midfield exposing big gaps behind, leaving his centre half partner under unnecessary pressure. He doesn’t have the pace or footballing ability to do this. He’s not Franco Baresi.
He also sometimes drops deeper, when everyone’s holding a line, playing others onside. He doesn’t take any command at set pieces. His famous passing, is at times woeful and downright ludicrous.
When he moved to Leicester, their defence didn’t improve. It remained the same. Evans came in and Ndidi matured and it improved. Dawson was his guiding hand at Hull too.
Man utd’s defence improved last season yes, but it really just returned to it mean. It had a better defence in 4 of the previous 6 seasons.
He’s living off a decent world cup, and being a bit of a classic british type centre half. In reality, he’s an error prone, slow, pondering defender. Hes sometimes decent , and does things that kind of look good, but then so does Jordan Pickford.
He was a collosal waste of money when Ake, Dunk, Duffy to name only a few premier league defenders would have done a better job.
The article published defending Maguire is something that would be ripped apart in Mediawatch if it were to appear on another site. As someone pointed out in the mailbox recently, Maguire gets off lightly in the press because he is British, and that article reads almost exclusively as such. Hell, it does a better job at defending Maguire than he’s doing defending the goal.
Don’t get me wrong, I do agree with the sentiment that Maguire is not a bad player, despite what his recent form is telling us. This United squad as a whole is performing below the level that, on paper, they should be reaching. That includes the other two centre-backs subtly executed in the piece as being terrible. Both Lindelof & Bailly have been described as good, if not great, while playing in a United jersey, and have gone through spells where they were the best of a bad bunch since their arrivals. They, too, are not bad players any more than Maguire is, but again, are suffering at the moment for the same reason, and that is inadequate coaching and management. A better manager/coach, with a more defined style of playing, and a willingness (and ability) to coach the talent on offer rather than buy a replacement after a run of bad performances could get a tune out of all three of them. I also agree that Maguire should not be stripped of the captaincy for learning that shouting at the ref does not overturn a decision that you don’t like.
The issue I have with the piece is that his actions in Greece are almost being described as background noise, an inconvenience in an already busy schedule, a bloody distraction to this Titan trying to get on with the footy. I know he is innocent until proven guilty – even though he was already found guilty -, but that is the reason he should have been stripped of the captaincy, and this site should be not dismissive of his transgressions. When Hugo Lloris was caught drink-driving, this site (I know, I know, different writers) called for the stripping of captaincy because things were bigger than football. Has football suddenly become bigger than committing a crime? It seems as if Maguire deserves some slack because he is British, because he made his way through the leagues all the way up to captain the great Man Utd, because he’s one of our own, and it’s the shite foreign imports beside him that are the issue. Apart from a few idiots online – as there always is – the criticism has been relatively just. When he is personally abused, that is always over the top, or when South Yorkshire civilization is publicly decried, and police officers drunkenly attacked, then, yeah, it went over the top. Until then, he deserves to take his licks – like the rest of the team – for his poor form, especially if you watched that first goal Spurs scored!
Grealish is the second coming
I am not a Man Utd fan, nor particularly a Harry Maguire fan but the nonsense being spouted regarding his ability and technique is ludicrous in the recent mailboxes. To be claiming that he is and always has been a rubbish defender is revisionism of the highest order, at one time he looked calm, assured and commanding whatever box he was playing in. To my mind he just seems like a defender that needs someone to follow – I am guessing that the pressures of captaincy and organising the defence is affecting his basic game.
What a week to be Jack Grealish? I am actually a Villa fan and it is lovely to see Jack getting the praise he deserves – his performance against Liverpool was imperious and he was by far the brightest light in the england team last night. As a player that people find it very easy to hate if he isn’t in your team (which I understand, from the way he looks to the way he draws fouls it’s almost calculated to offend people) but these two performances will probably have gone a long way to show the neutrals why he is considered the 2nd coming at Villa Park, my favourite player since Paul McGrath.
And finally on the subject of Villa you must be trolling putting them in the next 4 teams behind the big 6? I don’t deny that we had an amazing performance against Liverpool and two very comfortable performances against Sheffield Utd and Fulham but we only survived relegation on the last day of the season and we are only 3 games into this one. Our first team is the most exciting for a while but our second team is likely to be the scariest thing this halloween if we have to rely on them, and we are maybe 2 injuries away from another relegation battle. I think if we can stay comfortably outside the relegation zone and avoid any last day dramas I will consider this a great season.
Jay (you put the Man Utd bit at the beginning to get published don’t you?)
Grealish is talented and he knows it
I am going to be a bit controversial here and I’m sure I will get plenty of emails back calling me a bit of a t*at, but here we go.
Jack Grealish is not for me. Sorry I just have an issue with the way he plays.
He is hugely talented and he knows it. The problem is football is a team game and watching a talented player beat 3 players only to loose it to the 4th when he had options to move the ball on to a team mate makes my blood boil.
He is like that kid at school who never passed the ball. Watch De Bruyne play, he knows when to run with the ball and when to pass the ball and that’s why he is so difficult to defend against.
Maybe it is youth and I am being unfair. Maybe at Villa he felt he had to do it all himself because no-one else was good enough (although not this season).
If he can learn to these skills he can become a top player, but for me not right now.
Are Scotland the worst team in Europe?
I didn’t watch the game last night as it was my wife’s birthday and from the sounds of it, I didn’t miss much. Another poor performance, lacking any attacking impetus or penetration. It got me thinking about high quality Scottish attacking players. And I genuinely couldn’t think of any. I don’t mean at the moment, I mean since I’ve been watching football.
I was racking my brains and asking myself: “Who was the last Scottish forward, or attacking midfielder to play at the top level of football?” To play at one of the top 4 clubs in one of Europe’s top 5 leagues. There’s John Collins, who had a couple of years at Monaco, but before that, as mad as it is to say, the most recent is probably Kenny Dalglish.
It seems utterly incredible that in the past 30 years we haven’t had a single attacking player play for one of the top sides in the Premier League. Ireland have had Duff and Keane. Wales have had Giggs and Bale. To make that comparison even more damning, football is arguably not even the most popular sport in those countries. Countries like Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Croatia and even Iceland have been able to produce players capable of playing for the top sides in the Champions league. Scotland have not. I think you could honestly say we have been the worst nation in Europe at developing attacking players over the last 30 years.
That is an utterly damning indictment on the entire Scotland coaching setup, from youth level to the professional ranks. To have not produced even one high quality attacking player (and only a handful of players in other positions) is shameful for a country with the interest in football that Scotland has. There needs to be a complete root and branch review, but with the clowns in charge of the SFA that is never going to happen.
Mike, LFC, London
Social media hate
I never in a million years thought that a Liverpool supporter and a MU supporter would be arguing about social media. Of all the bloody things (to be fair I wouldn’t be getting into any whose club is better arguments given the current situation at both clubs).
“Anonymity gives a freedom that face-to-face communication does not”
I could argue that Trump alone kind of proves you wrong here considering his public record but that’s no fun.
“the racist who quietly seethes at the woman in a hijab”
The question I have is this, is it better for racists to be hidden or to be known? Being a Muslim myself I much prefer the ones that are openly racist than the ones who I discover much too late to be.
“As someone who has been vindictively cruel when angered, I do not say this without including myself”
Include me as well, and while I know that my angry outbursts are wrong, I also know that I will have them again before my time on this earths is over. Frankly I couldn’t care less about my angry outbursts at Ed Woodward and Paul Pogba. But I do feel bad when my wife is on the receiving end, those are the ones that really bother me. I also bet you could include most of the free world in that group because everyone gets angry and everyone says things they shouldn’t. And most I’d say feel bad afterwards. Hell I’d bet a good many Liverpool supporters feel a lot of remorse for some shit they gave Sterling now having the clarity that winning the league will bring. The question again is what should the consequences be for such mistakes? Never letting them speak just in case they say something mean in anger again?
“Hate speech is not just ‘dumb insults’.”
Now we get to the crux of the matter. Who defines what hate speech is? Because that is the slippery slope I talked about. Like its so silly I cant believe I have to write about it. Anyone who thinks this through can see what an Orwellian nightmare this leads to. How are you going to police this speech? Have someone read every comment would require the workforce China would be ashamed of (to say nothing of the human bias for example of a MU supporter being able to ban a Liverpool supporter) but creating an algorithm has its own pitfalls. Lets say you delete all comments containing the N word. What if the person using it is black themselves? Do you let the computer scan your profile picture for darker colors? . Lets say I post a comment using the N word on an article about Idi Amin. Is that ok because he was undoubtedly a monster? Or is it still not ok because he’s still black? Who decides? Is he less bad because he is black?
Jamie Vardy said some racist things (to the mans face no less) a while back. Now I honestly don’t think Jamie Vardy is racist against Asians I just think he got drunk and said some stupid shit like most people on the planet. But if at that time you had a panel that could decide Vardy’s fate they could very well have banned him from society for reasons that have nothing to do with him being racist and everything to do with positions of the clubs in the Premier League. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. We never tend to think of the worst case scenarios when it comes to these things. Think about the idea that the race for the most powerful person on the planet is a glorified popularity contest. Nobody thought about it until a crazy reality tv celebrity won the damn thing. Now everyone is like Wait he can’t do that. Yeah he can. And he did it to your mother too.
Dino (Its not just twitter the comments on Facebook are just as bad) Kantardzic
Buy to rent Glazers
In reply to Gary B who seems to think banks wouldn’t allow him to buy a house the way the Glazers bought Man U he has clearly never heard of buy to rent properties, The Glazers loaned £660m to buy a club valued at £790m (a Loan to Value ratio of around 85%). They bought a club with a regular historic income that could cover the cost of the repayments and also had proven personal income and assets themselves. If you replace the words club with house, loan with mortgage, income with rental and probably knock three zeroes of the values then I’m sure plenty of banks would let Gary B buy a house like this and after 25-30 years once the mortgage was paid he would actually own it despite the fact renters had actually contributed most of the money!
James H (London Renter!)
Reading James’ mail this morning about Donny Van Der Beek as Cobra Kai had me thinking about other football lookalikes, so here are a few, it is Friday after all, so some silly light reading for everyone.
Luka Modric and David Guetta
Michael Ballack and Matt Damon
Maniche and Jim Carrey
Dani Osvaldo and Johnny Depp
Joey Barton and Rui Faria
Francesco Totti and Bear Grylls
Well there are 6 lookalikes, now I am just dreaming of an Into The Wild with Bear Grylls and Totti special, or perhaps a Pirates of the Caribbean movie where Dani Osvaldo makes an appearance, who are everyone else’s suggestions for lookalikes?