Harry Maguire has been in the headlines once again after England’s recent game against Scotland, with many saying the defender is not fit to wear the shirt of the Three Lions. As Euro 2024 edges ever closer, I’d imagine that this conversation will only grow louder.
Whilst the 30-year-old has a string of poor club performances under his belt, he does not deserve the severe abuse thrown his way, and the vile treatment of him will only hurt England’s chances at major tournaments. If we’re not careful, then the constant Maguire-bashing could put unneeded pressure on our national side and disrupt the harmony of one of the most talented squads in our history.
For all of Maguire’s faults on the pitch, nobody can question his attitude off it. Unlike other Manchester United players, he has never criticsed the manager or refused to train. He’s kept as low-key as possible and has never taken to social media to air his frustrations. Considering the severity of the criticism he’s received, Maguire has taken it all in his stride.
The centre-back received a bomb threat at his house last year and has also had his social media inboxes flooded with offensive messages. Maguire also had the misfortune of scoring an own-goal in England’s recent win over Scotland, and his selection in the squad has been the subject of intense debate in the media. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with stating Maguire may not be at the level required for Manchester United and England, personal abuse is wholly unacceptable.
I’d completely understand if the footballer lost his temper and hit out at his critics – yet Maguire hasn’t done that yet and has taken the flack just as a professional should. People may think being a Premier League footballer is easy, but I’d like to see them walk a mile in the shoes of Maguire.
The former Manchester United captain would massively benefit from a move away from Old Trafford to rediscover his form and remove some of the mega-watt spotlight cast upon him. He may not be the best player on the pitch, but Harry Maguire is a shining example outside of the white lines. David Beckham, Wayne Rooney, and Paul Gascoigne have all lived a portion of their lives as England’s whipping post, but I can’t remember a player having to endure as much stick as Maguire.
With several stellar performances for England under his belt, it’s time to rethink how we speak about our footballers. If the Dele Alli saga has taught us one thing, it’s that we never know what’s happening under the surface. England have massively evolved as a footballing nation, but we remain stuck in our bad habits in the terraces.