Maguire slams Scotland fans, shares Manchester United ‘masterplan’ as England kickback continues

Editor F365
Harry Maguire has had enough of Scotland fans

Harry Maguire has lashed out at Scotland and divulged his cunning plot to break into the Manchester United side. There are more ‘showdown talks’ for Ten Hag.


Lazy Maguire
The international break has almost been navigated – pats on the back, people – but ironically enough it has thrown up an actually vaguely interesting discourse surrounding Harry Maguire, just as elite-level club football appears again on the horizon.

Thursday’s coverage is chock-full of the Manchester United centre-half, from his own quotes to the continued reaction of journalists and pundits to Maguire’s plight.

In the Daily Mirror, John Cross takes issue with the ‘toxic’ situation which came to a head against Scotland.

Maguire, of course, put through his own net, it gave England a nervy few minutes as their lead went from 2-0 to 2-1 until Harry Kane restored the two-goal advantage. But until that point, Maguire was composed and played out from the back. He did what he usually does for England: played well, passed it, blocked it and headed it.

He was good then. Glad to clear that up. Until, of course, five paragraphs later:

I think everyone has the right to an opinion but I don’t like the ridicule or stupid, childish remarks. Would I pick Maguire for England now? No. I think there’s a reason why Maguire scored an own goal and that’s because he did look slow, lumbering and rusty.

Fair play because it must be difficult to look simultaneously ‘composed’ and ‘rusty’.

But the most confusing bit of an otherwise very good column from Cross is undoubtedly this:

Maguire also decided to stay at United rather than move for the sake of his England career.

Deciding to stay at Manchester United hardly seems to have impacted his England career at all. That’s why it’s all kicked off, John.

Harry Maguire shakes hands with England manager Gareth Southgate.

Harry Maguire and Gareth Southgate both face scrutiny after England’s recent fixtures.


Holt, who goes there?
It was weird to see Oliver Holt write the following on Wednesday:

Some England fans would rather have a high-profile manager and an unsuccessful team. It is a strange bargain they want to strike.

Using ‘some’ as a synonym for ‘no’ is a choice but there you go.

Anyway, it is a baffling straw man that the Daily Mail journalist must have spent most of the ensuing evening reconstructing, because he is back on Thursday with this on Southgate:

He looks like a manager who has grown bored with humouring critics who seem to yearn for a time when England were no-hopers and under-achievers.

Join us on Friday when Holt continues his passive-aggressive feud with these people who simply do not exist.


You’re (one of) the best around
Moving on from the manager stuff, Holt also writes this:

Maguire is one of the best centre halves England have had. Not the level of Bobby Moore, Jack Charlton, Rio Ferdinand, Billy Wright, Sol Campbell or John Terry.

So not ‘one of the best’ then?


Journey South
And here is Holt to complete his hat-trick. Clinical stuff, this:

My own view is that most of the newspaper criticism of Maguire has been fair and measured. I would say that, I suppose.


He was damned for his naivety when he became involved in a fracas in Mykonos a few years ago but it is hard to argue that that was anything other than reasonable observation.

He was defended for ‘simply wanting to walk public byways’ and compared to a legendary warrior by perhaps the country’s most prominent newspaper journalist. There was precious little damning.

Holt even sticks up for Southgate and whatever part the England manager has had to play in all this:

What is worse than being booed by your own fans? What is worse than being held up as a source of ridicule at a time when you are struggling in your professional life? What do you want the manager to do? Would you respect a manager who lets his player be victimised like this?

If the argument is that Southgate’s passionate post-match defence was him refusing to let Maguire be ‘victimised’, could the counter-claim not be made that he very much brought it on the centre-half by playing him in the full knowledge that he would be abused?

‘What do you want the manager to do?’ Not bring on an under-pressure player at half-time in a friendly when there was no need to do so, particularly in such potentially volatile conditions? Not drag Maguire into the firing line and then complain at the reaction? Not contradict himself when talking about how clubs use the players he picks, while constantly picking a player whose club doesn’t use him?

The Maguire stuff has gone much too far but Southgate is at least partially culpable and should know better.

Would you respect someone who leaves the wounded behind? Would you respect a manager if he dropped a player because fans have decided that he is their new favourite target for a mob mentality, the new John Barnes, the new Owen Hargreaves, the new Kieron Dyer, the new Ray Wilkins, all previous targets for the boo-boys?

We would respect a manager for trying to protect the mental well-being of one of his players, yes.


Master exploder
Maguire himself has spoken
. And you know precisely what that means when put through a headline tabloidification machine:

Harry Maguire breaks silence after latest England jeers as defender sets out masterplan to win back Man Utd spot

Sublime work from The Sun website. And yes, we are aware of the hypocrisy here.

Beyond any silence-breaking, what exactly is this Manchester United ‘masterplan’?

Every time I train or play, I will give everything. I want to play games, I want to play football. The first four weeks were hard because it was one game a week and the manager didn’t select me. But we have lots of games coming up now and I am sure I will play lots of games.

It’s mad enough that it might just work.


Swipe out
More words from Maguire are reported by the Daily Mirror website:

Harry Maguire appears to take swipe at Scotland fans as he hits back at brutal criticism

Handily enough the apparent ‘swipe’ was made on social media for all to see. Parental Advisory on this one because it is brutal, folks.

Too far, Harry. Too far.


There are Manchester United fires to put out all over the place, as shown by this Daily Mirror website headline:

Erik ten Hag set for showdown talks with Man Utd goalkeeper Andre Onana

Ten Hag has had more ‘showdown talks’ this past fortnight than Manchester United have had away wins this year. Although David McDonnell immediately downgrades it to ‘Ten Hag will want to know if Onana plans to represent his country at the month-long tournament in Ivory Coast’ by the fourth paragraph of his story on AFCON so read into that what you will.

‘Ten Hag will hope Onana’s decision to return for Cameroon was a one-off and he does not play in the Africa Cup of Nations,’ it is added. And Ten Hag probably ‘will hope’ not to lose one of his best and most important players for a month or so in the middle of the season but – and this is crucial – he will support whatever decision Onana comes to.

“We are on the same page,” the Dutchman said on the matter recently.

But one last thing: can we please agree how many matches Onana might miss? The agreed number seemed to be seven but now ‘the 27-year-old could miss up to nine games for United’.


Do we really still have to do these explainer headlines on the absence of U21 players from 25-man squad lists in 2023?
‘Why Garnacho, Mainoo and Hojlund are not in United’s 25-man Premier League squad list’ – Manchester Evening News.


Worst headline of the day
You see this from BBC Sport

Harry Maguire: ‘It’s not right and should not be happening’

And you might think those are words uttered by Harry Maguire. You would be wrong. You are stupid. It’s obviously Tash Dowie’s thoughts on the subject. And there is no other way of presenting them to avoid such confusion.