Harry Maguire is feeling vindicated over his decision to stay and fight for his Manchester United future after re-establishing himself as a key player under Erik ten Hag.
The centre-back lost his place in the team last season and, after being removed as captain, came close to leaving United during the summer. A £30m deal with West Ham United was on the table but ultimately collapsed, leaving Maguire at Old Trafford.
After seeing just 26 minutes across United‘s first seven Premier League games, Maguire has since started the last seven in all competitions and has enjoyed an excellent run of form, pushing himself ahead of Raphael Varane in the pecking order.
“I obviously played a few games last year, 16 or 17 I think it was – starts. And I actually felt like I performed really well in the games that I played in, I just didn’t play as many as I would have liked,” Maguire said after Saturday’s 1-0 win over Luton Town.
“But, on the other hand, Rapha and Licha (Lisandro Martinez) were playing brilliantly and keeping numerous clean sheets so I had to bide my time, I had to be patient.
“I had two or three opportunities last year to get a run of games in and actually broke down with illness, broke down twice with injuries. So I never got the rhythm, never got the run of games that I could prove myself to the manager. I’ve got that now.
“I played the last I don’t know how many games and I really enjoy my football and really enjoy playing for this club. So, yeah, I was willing to stay and fight for my place. We’ve got, I believe, four or five top international centre-backs at the club and the competition for places is really hard.”
Maguire, who previously insisted his confidence came from his win percentage under Ten Hag, also doubled down on his belief that he had earned a chance to impress the boss.
“I think your experience, the memories that you’ve had, working hard in training is the main thing, making sure you’re ready,” he continued. “But, like I said, I started 16 or 17 games last year and I thought my form was there.
“There was a lot of talk about me because I wasn’t playing games and that’s the way it is. I was playing well for my country, went to the World Cup and played really well.
“So yeah, I always thought my form was there but I was up against some top, top centre-backs and last year they were playing amazing, so I just didn’t get as many opportunities as I would have liked. But this club demands competition for places and that’s what we’ve got in that position.”
What we know
- Maguire lost Man Utd place last season & saw West Ham transfer collapse
- England defender has consistently backed himself & is enjoying great form
- Raphael Varane has now dropped to the bench in his place.