Harry Maguire Spurs 'Ridiculous' Man Utd Streak; True Test Awaits


Harry Maguire Spurs ‘Ridiculous’ Man Utd Streak; True Test Awaits

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In a stunning display of his renowned aerial ability, Harry Maguire’s thunderous header marked a personal resurgence that lifted Manchester United from the depths of their Champions League group. Despite recent bouts of misfortune, this time fortune smiled upon him, with his status as the match-winner nearly slipping away when Scott McTominay conceded an injury-time penalty. However, Andre Onana’s save in the 97th minute preserved his heroics.

The Stretford End echoed with chants of Maguire’s name, signifying a dual redemption story: that of the player United signed in the summer and the one they considered selling to West Ham. “Amazing,” Maguire remarked, as he had rarely tasted such adulation at Old Trafford. Last season, he was the last-choice center-back, but now he may secure a consistent place in the starting lineup under Erik ten Hag, the manager who had stripped him of the captaincy.

Maguire’s case is supported by the statistics he recently highlighted. His win percentage, which he termed “ridiculously high,” stands at 94.1% in his last 17 starts for United, with 16 of them ending in victories. While there are exceptions, including a painful exit from the Europa League in Seville and three losses in his first three starts under Ten Hag, his role as a backup has shielded him from tougher challenges. While he has faced teams like Real Betis, Sevilla, West Ham, and Aston Villa, he has yet to meet an elite team under Ten Hag’s leadership.

With the Manchester derby on the horizon, Maguire should savor his statistics while he can. His personal resurgence is marked by meaningful contributions, not just numbers. This includes a vital headed assist for McTominay’s 97th-minute winner against Brentford, an outstanding performance in his return to Sheffield United, and a recent Champions League victory against FC Copenhagen. While these opponents may be considered relatively weaker, United did not dominate in these matches. However, Maguire, once miscast by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as a talisman and captain, has thrived as a dedicated and hardworking player in three successive starts.

Maguire’s consistent inclusion in the lineup was initially facilitated by the absence of Lisandro Martinez, Ten Hag’s preferred choice over Maguire, and the unavailability of all of United’s left-backs, leading to Victor Lindelof’s deployment on the flank. However, against Copenhagen, Maguire played in the left-sided center-back role that Ten Hag had been hesitant to grant him, as the Dutchman typically prefers left-footed defenders there who operate higher up the pitch. Maguire was not a natural fit, but he is gradually adapting to Ten Hag’s style of play.

This is a reward not just for Maguire’s set-piece expertise but also for his determination to stay when there were reasons to leave. Ten Hag never pushed him out, stripping him of the captain’s armband but insisting that he remained a valuable squad player. The manager’s stance was nuanced, and the defender remained defiant.

Maguire acknowledged the intense scrutiny that comes with playing at one of the most scrutinized clubs in the world. He had a challenging 2021-22 season and a slow start to the previous season, both of which did not escape criticism. However, he is proud of his actions over the last six to 12 months.

While stiffer tests may lie ahead, starting with Erling Haaland on Sunday, Maguire has become a symbol of this United team, grinding out victories with contributions from some of the less-heralded players. Their last five goals have all come from McTominay, Diogo Dalot, or Maguire. This represents a rare high for Maguire, who has endured his fair share of criticism and adversity over the years, regardless of his win percentage.”



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