Fergie wouldn’t pick Harry Maguire for Man Utd, and other mails…

Date published: Tuesday 25th February 2020 9:07

Get your mails in to theeditor@football365.com…


Maguire wouldn’t start for United during Fergie era
I have just finished reading Ian Watson’s article on Harry Maguire. It’s a good read and quite rightly illustrates he is having a good season.

Ultimately it wasn’t his fault united bought him for so much money, however he is a clear sign of the times at united, name me a year between 1992 -2014 that sees him start at united as first choice? And yes Jonny Evans was better.

United fans need to view him as a building block, nothing more and nothing less.

Does Harry Maguire start for Liverpool, City, Bayern, Barcelona, PSG, Inter? (soon enough if they get a chance with conte and his fascination with premier league players in Italy). I don’t think so. He has no pace, never has.

Harry Maguire is a good player, but united must do better if they will bridge the gap.

Imagine Koulibaly along side him and you basically have Matip and Vvd.

I think United will break the bank this year, Sancho, Werner, Koulibaly. As a Liverpool fan that would concern me.

Thankfully ole will be in charge so even if that does happen United will still be poop.
Ade , Guildford (7 is coming, 3-0 vs Atletico)


…are you joking about Maguire? The reason Manchester United’s defence has improved is because Maguire is so absurdly slow that the entire defence has moved back to almost on De Gea’s toes in order to cope. This in turn causes enormous gaps between Def and Mid and Attack, meaning any attacking fluidity is lost against teams that play a low block against United. Of course it works reasonably well when they can play counter attack.. But they’ve definitely lost some momentum going forward.

Of course no-one is reasonably suggesting he become Virgil part 2, but Maguire isn’t a better defender than, say, Smalling, and comes up with at least one significant mistake per game, and has only contributed one goal in the PM. He’s essentially Phil Jones with a few less miles on the clock.

He does seem like a good lad, humble and proud to be where he is, but that doesn’t mean that he’s anything more than a competent defender. I think we’re all letting the summer of ’18 blind us a bit to Harry’s performances.
Dan, London


…United win and don’t concede which is great but its only papering over the cracks at centre half they have. Basically Lindelof is not good enough and they need a replacement. He reminds me of Smalling when in possession, always seems to be under pressure even when no one is within 20 yards of him. He is weak in the tackle and easily muscled off a ball. On top of that he is terrible in the air (watch Watford disallowed goal, he basically ducks out the way of the ball) and panics when under pressure (watch Liverpool disallowed goal, ball come backs off the post and he completely panics gifting the ball to Firmino). Maguire needs a tough guy next to him, Bailly could be that guy if he avoids injury but if he is not the one then they need to buy in the Summer. I would have even preferred Rojo there instead of Lindelöf. (bit never Jones)
Ken, Cork, Ireland


Ole’s masterplan
There is a plan, if you just open your eyes to it.

Bruno Fernandes’ arrival seems to be seen as a watershed moment but in fact if you take a broader view, there has actually been a clear plan that is being executed. And it’s not rocket science. Here’s the 6 step process.

One: bring the age of the team down drastically. This reduces cynicism, gives the team an extended runway for success and brings down the wage bill, giving Woodward more leeway to sign new players.

Two: fix the defence. We now have a steady back four or five, with Bailly, Williams, Dalot and Tuanzebe additionally available to step in as required. And it’s no surprise we’ve started keeping clean sheets again.

Three: fix the midfield – Fred, Bruno, Matic, and McTominay already looks quite solid. A summer addition of Grealish type player will set us up nicely. Note – no space for Lingard and Pereira who need to desperately reinvent themselves. A couple of youngsters such as Garner, Gomez and Mejbri will be knocking on the doors soon, and Mata can be an impact sub for another year.

Four: fix the attitude. You may have noticed I didn’t even mention Pogba in the midfield. This may actually be Ole’s greatest trick. There is no scope for flouncing around in this team. The best medicine for Pogba is that he isn’t missed. Ole has also steadfastly praised Pogba while skewering his agent. All players with chips on their shoulders must surely know that the team can do just fine without them.

Five: improve the players, and the play. This is one of the most difficult things. But as has been pointed out in the mailbox – Rashford, Martial, Fred, AWB, and even Shaw are playing better now. The team moves well and scores good goals. Turgid football hasn’t quite been banned but is an occasional visitor nowadays.

Six: improve the attack. This is only partly done. James has been over-played, and needs to add many more dimensions to his game. A Sancho style player is definitely required on the right. And a Nistelrooy/ Solskjaer style centre forward to just loves banging them without needing to do much else with the ball. That allows Rashford and Martial to also play the more zippy and penetrative game, often coming in from the left and doing magic now and then. And did I mention a chap called Greenwood?

I’m not saying this will make Man United contenders for the title again but it will most likely make them a comfortable top 4 team for 2-3 years which is the basecamp for the assault on the summit. Maybe we’ll need a different manager for that stage. But that’s fine because Ole will have more than done his job.

You’d rather be a team that can beat the top team but struggles with the defensive bottom-of-the-league opposition, than the other way around. Because the fix for that is clearly the introduction of a few creative attacking players. The reverse problem – beating bottom-half teams and losing to the top ones means you have an average team and to solve that you need to overhaul the team.
Ved Sen, MUFC.


Liverpool not scared
It felt strange not being really stressed at 1-2 down. Whilst I obviously didn’t want to lose, it felt that we would probably be okay and even the worst case scenario wasn’t a disaster.

I appreciate this sounds arrogant (and sorry for that), but premier league game jeopardy is a fun, but not terrifying, experience. Will be a real shame if Athletico dump us out of the ‘Champions’ League as it’d otherwise be a great opportunity to rest players before the latter rounds and go for the double.

Then again, if we can just win the league that’s not so bad.
Aidan, Lfc (they’re normalising the ridiculous)


Pickford not a problem
Hugh, Kent is wading in on Pickford’s England chances… ‘yet another performance that makes you feel uneasy about him being England’s number one.’ Did you watch the game Hugh? Nothing really Pickford could do about any of those three goals. Do you think Henderson’s form has anything to do with the quality of defence in front of him? Might that be true of Pickford also?

Everton’s defence has been, along with central midfield, a real sh*t-show this season and without the multiple season defining injuries as an excuse.

Jordan makes more passes than Henderson (848 to 670) at a much better completion rate (57% to 35%). This is paramount to how England play and what will see Pickford keep his spot for the summer at least.

Pickford will have a far stronger defence in front of him for England than Everton, hopefully this will see some level of form return and help him prove a few of his doubters wrong.
Mark Hamilton – Evertonian


Selhurst cats
Just something to maybe break up the usual mailbox chat. Did anyone see the goal keeping in the Newcastle v Palace match?

Blimey! Yes I know Dubravka got done by the free kick but before that he made 2 absolute worldies. Straight out of the top drawer. Then up the other end Guaita was in similar form. I love watching a full stretched keeper flying through the air and clawing one over the cross bar.

Fantastic stuff!
Chaz (Essex)


…In response to Benedict, Sussex, I’ve been talking about this for a few years now. If you look at all the best keepers in the world 4- 5 years ago, de gea, courtois, neuer and lloris, all were pre 30, between 22 and 28 and all have either dropped away or have had significant dips in form. The best keepers in the world now are ter stegen, ederson,allison and oblak, all around 27.

It’s clear that as the game has become quicker and more powerful, younger goalies with greater agility are required. There would be no seaman or schmeichel dominating the goal in the prem in their early to mid 30s in 2020.


Oh, Brun Fernandsh
In regards to Neil Custis noticing that Bruno Fernandes’ first name ends in ‘O’, which lends itself to chants is just wrong. This kind of laziness with foreigners’ names really winds me up.

As someone with a Portuguese wife and Anglo-Portuguese family that lives in the heart of London’s Portuguese community where we mostly speak Portuguese (or Portuginglish, to be fair) I’d like to point out that that ‘O’ in Portuguese is pronounced ‘ooh’, not ‘oh’ and, in this case, would barely be pronounced at all as the final vowel is all but dropped, making his name basically “Brun”.

And don’t get me started on pronouncing his surname Fernand-EZ. It’s Fer-nan-dsh. That ‘E’ in the final syllable may as well not be there and the ‘S’ is pronounced ‘SH’.

He’s not Spanish. And it’s not hard. Rant over!
Thomas Lewis


Contact sport?
In College (American) Football, there is a rule called “targeting.” It comes in two forms, either ” a player takes aim at an opponent for the purposes of attacking with forcible contact with the crown of the helmet”, or ” A player takes aim at a defenseless opponent for the purposes of attacking with forcible contact to the head or neck are.” In a game where the players are 250-350lbs, wearing full pads and helmets that could deflect a small calibre bullet, it is mandatory that a player be thrown out of the game if he does either of those two things, and it happens with reasonable frequency.

A “defenseless opponent” is most generally classified as one that isn’t looking in the direction of the incoming hit, for example, a receiver looking at his quarterback who catches the ball, turns, and gets blown up. That is targeting, and that defender gets thrown out for the reckless manner in which they attempted to tackle.

But somehow, when Ederson flies out and double uppercuts Iheanacho, who is looking away from him, in the chin, this isn’t viewed as reckless or dangerous by either the on field ref, or the VAR. Instead he gets a goal kick, and Iheanacho is subbed off with a concussion. But god forbid a player tap a keeper in the box on a corner…..
Jacques, Oxford (If Alisson did that, you know everyone would be apoplectic)


Garth Crooks, time traveller
I know it’s akin to shooting fish in a barrel, but I really am amazed that Mediawatch didn’t pick up on this line from Crook’s team of the week about Marcos Alonso’s goal.

“… a glorious strike by Alonso that put the game beyond Spurs. It momentarily took my mind off the awful decision to leave Tottenham’s Giovani Lo Celso on the pitch for his shocking tackle…”

Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but Alonso scored in the 3rd min of the 2nd half, and Lo Celso’s tackle was a good 15- 20mins later!?!?

How on earth did a goal scored before the event, take Crooks mind off of it?!?!?

The only conclusion can be that he’s one of David Ike’s time travelling Lizard Kings!!!!
Paul (Spurs) T.Wells


Corner precision
I’m intrigued by the placement of the ball at corners. Players seem generally to try to place the ball precisely as far as possible at the outer curved edge of the quadrant and are often stopped by the assistent referee because the ball touches no part of the quadrant. Why this precision? It doesn’t seem to relate to the subsequent delivery in any way.

The only general prescriptions for delivery are that the ball should go over the first defender and not just drop into the goalkeeper’s hands. Those prescriptions apart, the possibilities are virtually infinite and generally prove to be almost random.. So why this preoccupation with precision in placing the ball? I don’t understand.
Ian (CFC) Hugo


VAR corner
​Gerard, Belfast suggests that instead of bottling our hatred for VAR and moving in, we should just express our disdain for it.

Wait, what? is he not hearing the chants in the stadium? The utter chaos the mailbox becomes? The inflammatory headlines? The reason some articles/podcasts say that is BECAUSE everywhere else they talk about nothing but hatred of VAR.

VAR does screw up, ain’t saying its perfect but the problem is people also express hate to it when it gets things right. Offside decisions for example, many hates the small margins thing but I absolutely love it. And remember these are things that VAR got factually 100% right and people hate it anyways.

People like to also throw in something about VAR violating the spirit of the offside law which they claim is to prevent goal watchng. Trust me, if the spirit of the offside law was just that, the rule itself wouldn’t be as detailed as it is now. It would be vaguely described – like fouls.

There are people who hate on VAR regardless of whether it gets decision right or wrong as far as the rules goes. There aren’t interested in the rules being correctly applied (some like fouls are vague on purpose, some like offside line offences are clear cut), they’re only interested that what they think should be the rules should be applied.

The handball goal rule? That’s staying regardless of whether VAR is there or not and it doesn’t need VAR to be enforced. Oh and when the rules wasn’t there, people complained like in the case of Man City vs Spurs Champions League tie, where the goal WAS accepted.

VAR also never gets the credit when they get things right. You might say that like the referees it is their job, but the difference is nobody is arguing of getting rid of referees but people are arguing to get rid of VAR usually without pointing out the times it did get things right. That’s like criticizing taxes without pointing out the services of what those taxes bring in.

During games, I also criticize VAR decisions that I think they get wrong, however when I see an offside call or a penalty that was missed, etc I go “Good job VAR”. I have done this againts my team as well.

The way I see it is this: football decision errors are themselves man made errors and VAR is an imperfect man made solution to it, one like most process or tech we have, that we can continue to improve on as time passes even if it never will be perfect in football.
Yaru, Malaysia


…A point arose in the afternoon mailbox noting what football can learn from Rugby Union with regard to the proper usage of television reviews. This is a point that seems to crop up time and time again whether the comparison is with NFL, Rugby, Tennis, the GAA in Ireland or Cricket and whether the subject is VAR, respecting referees or novel disciplinary ideas (such as the ten minute “sin-bin” for yellow cards etc.).

This got me thinking…. why is it that football, with all of its billions/trillions and with its global following far exceeding that of any of the aforementioned sports, constantly seems to be looking to other sports for inspiration and so rarely seems to be on the cutting edge or the fore-front itself. Why does it follow and not lead? Why, when we have all sorts of highly paid executives who seem more than adept at finding new and clever ways to make money, does football struggle to apply any innovative thinking to improve its product?

Other sports seem to constantly evolve and introduce “trial rules” in order either to embrace technology or to enhance their game and bring it into the modern era but this is not so for football. Football is constantly advised to adopt “x” practice from “y” sport but I cannot think of a single instance of another sport embracing an “on field” innovation from football. I don’t necessarily have one to suggest (goal line technology works well I guess but I don’t think that can claim to be a football innovation – tennis and cricket having embraced similar technology years prior) so it’s more a question for the mailbox. Can anyone think of an occasion where football introduced something innovative which was transferable to other sports?
Richard (innovative parenthesis comment), Dublin


…When Gerard, Belfast said that VAR is “MAN MADE” so we should be able to fix it, you missed the issue you yourself highlighted so boldly, VAR is created and run by humans. Humans aren’t perfect, and make mistakes. And to be honest, that’s the main issue with far, incompetent people.

Sure, there have been some teething issues, mainly the lack of transparency with match going spectators, but all thr mistakes that are made, the lack of red cards and dodgy offsides, that’s all refs. There is no doubt that refs do a difficult job, and they have my sympathy, but the main thing VAR has done is highlight the poor standard of consistency with the refs, and once again highlighted the ineptitude the FA and Premier League show towards refereeing as a whole.
Néill, Ireland


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