Harry Maguire was signed to be the leader in the Manchester United defense and he has not yet convinced the fans of the club that he is worth £80million. What a fee to pay for a player that has experienced three relegations with Hull City and Wigan Athletic, been playing under seven managers in the passed four seasons and not really yet made his mark 100% at international level.
We all know that England came close to a World Cup final with Maguire in their mid, but they failed in that Semi-final v. Croatia, and didn’t either bring home the bronze being defeated by Belgium. Not able to win against Holland in the Nations league semi’s and of course bringing home a bronze medal in a penalty shoot out against Switzerland, but in all England should win against the Swizz any day of the week.
At Leicester City both Claude Puel and Craig Shakespeare had to leave their jobs, depending on Maguire as a leader in defense, not really being able to win those key battles and run the back four with confidence and the leadership needed to be a top class defender, talking Champions League final material. That is what you pay £80million for, not a mediocre Premier League defender.
Maguire has “eaten” five managers in four seasons counting Steve Bruce, Mike Phelan, and Marco Silv at Hull, Craig Shakespeare and Claude Puel at Leicester City, and those stats don’t lie, and the £80million defender has never been part of a team higher than 9th in the Premier League, and struggled with relegation at Hull City and Wigan Athletic, also relegation fear at Leicester City.
One other act to look at is that Maguire also have been in teams that are often seen losing form and going on long and poor runs during a season. And his habit of ending in relegation battles might be a scary act to look at, often being the player in those teams to be holding the leadership in defense.
Not at all a bad defender, but in real a player that has not yet managed to jump those hurdles that a top class defender needs to jump, with the demand and expectations shining through at Old Trafford.
When building a winning team at the level you like to compete and win, you need a fine mix between players previously being winning those trophies you like to get your hands on, if you don’t have that experience you have to find it, and again a few talents from your own ranks and a steady group of players that are able to play two games a week without getting injuries.
Easier said than done, but not all managers in football have the abilities of Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp and to see OGS in competition with them is a bit unfair as he is not equipped to be in that league of managers. Sadly Manchester United fans are totally lost in their talk of football, as they alse were 50 years ago seeing the same scenario appearing when Sir Matt Busby left his job and as Sir Alex moved upstairs.
This is a copy tale of what happened back then and the story looks to repeat itself. Wilf McGuiness and Frank O’Farrell both failed, not winning domestic trophies, impatience and decline was not dealt with in the right way, Tommy Docherty, at that time a proven manager, took the party down to the 2nd tier.
When Sir Alex Ferguson stepped down six years ago, Ryan Giggs, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Wayne Rooney, Paul Scholes, Robin Van Persie and Patrice Evra were all on the wrong scale of 30 and with Marouane Fellaini being the only summer signing, totally unexpected, and not a player that in any way could replace Scholes, who was a player that never got replaced.
Manchester United were always a 4-4-2 team under Sir Alex, and the partnership up front was a very vital part of that formation. It’s a pattern that we seldom see in today’s game with teams adapting to other styles and in the last six season no one has won the Premier League playing 4-4-2 anymore.
Leicester City, Manchester City and Chelsea are the winners since 2012-13, and they are performing totally different and the same to be said about Liverpool, but it’s really not the system in itself that counts, the players are.
Jose Mourinho demanded money to be able to build, but with fans turning against his buys Paul Pogba, Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku, and also against him, after taking the team to an FA Cup final and ending runners-up in the league, winning away against Juventus you start to think, are they all insane and totally left out of reality.
We have seen major clubs like Manchester City, Leeds United and Blackburn Rovers being relegated to League One level, something we thought was impossible, and when you see what type of players Manchester United are linked with at the moment you get scared seeing Mandzukic and Maddison being lined up, both are so far behind Lukaku, Sanchez and Pogba in ability, so you start to get scared. Maddison has not yet made his England debut, needs at least 40 caps before being on a level close to Pogba, so we just have to wait and see.
OGS is flirting with different systems and to mix that with changes in a line-up is like going to war with yourself. He is acting as a novice at the moment. if you have players dominant as he had at Molde you can do this, but with a team full of reserves and youngsters it’s a failing project.
Stay thru to your system, slot in players when you get injuries, don’t move your best players around. If you do as OGS has done now, you start thinking is this really Manchester United and how can anyone be allowed to destroy a team in this way. We just have to wait and see what happens, but this is not going forward in the best way possible, despite Man Utd still being in all competitions going forward.