England International Claims Harry Maguire Has Taken More ‘Stick’ Than Any Other Player in Football

Luke Shaw has spoken out in support of Manchester United and England teammate Harry Maguire following the Three Lions’ final fixture of September’s international break.

Manchester United’s Luke Shaw Speaks Highly of Harry Maguire Amid Backlash for England Performance

Maguire Was at Fault for Two Goals

England faced Germany at Wembley on Monday and came from 2-0 down to lead 3-2 before conceding a late equaliser. It was the team’s final fixture before all qualified sides will head to Qatar in November for the highly anticipated World Cup.

Maguire had a night to forget, though, after being at fault for two of the Germans’ three goals. Early in the second half, the 29-year-old put in a reckless challenge on the ever-threatening Jamal Musiala inside the 18-yard box, leading to a Germany penalty which was neatly tucked away by Ilkay Gundogan.

Read more: Manchester United to Try and Sign £131 Million Midfielder ‘With Potential of Paul Scholes and Steven Gerrard’ in 2023

Shortly after, Maguire was dispossessed by Musiala which led to a dangerous counter-attack by Germany. Kai Havertz produced a sublime finish into the top corner to make it 2-0 after not being closed down by any England defenders. Post-match, Maguire took to Instagram to acknowledge his performance, saying: “Mistakes are a part of the game, I apologise.”

Maguire’s Time in Manchester Has Been Below-Par

The defender has come under fire numerous times during his career, especially since joining United in 2019. After completing an £80 million transfer, he became the most expensive defender of all time but has struggled to ever live up to the hefty price tag in the seasons that have followed.

Under former United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Maguire was a guaranteed starter each week and was even awarded the captaincy in his first season at the club. However, new coach Erik ten Hag has not provided Maguire with the same security and has opted to omit the defender from the starting 11 since August 13. Bruno Fernandes has donned the captain’s armband in his place.

Read More: Erik ten Hag Confirms Club Captain Harry Maguire Isn’t a Guaranteed Starter From Now On

The decision from the Dutchman came after the Red Devils oversaw a disastrous start to the 2022/2023 campaign. They conceded six goals in their opening two games and finished the second matchweek rock-bottom of the Premier League.

Numerous changes to the squad, which included replacing Shaw and Maguire, benefitted the side, as they went on to defeat rivals Liverpool 2-1 and begin a four-game winning streak. United also picked up their first two clean sheets and looked significantly stronger defensively.

Maguire Received England Call-up Despite Lack of Game Time

Gareth Southgate was criticised for calling Maguire and Shaw up to the England squad in September due to their lack of playing time. Regarding the ongoing situation, Shaw told BBC Radio 5 Live: “Harry is an amazing player, amazing character. He’s taken a lot of stick, probably more than I’ve ever seen before in football.

“He never hides away, he’s always there. You can have people who can hide away and not want to be in the spotlight. He keeps putting himself in the spotlight, it shows the strength and character he’s got.

“Everybody knows he’s an unbelievable player. At the moment the confidence might not be there because it could feel like the whole world is against him.

“It’s tough for him, but us as players and staff are all behind him because he’s a very important player. It shows Gareth’s trust because he’s played in both games [this week] – and look at the Euros, what he’s done.

“People need to understand he’s a big part of the England team and have to accept it.”

Read More: Premier League Predictions

Minutes on the Pitch Crucial in Lead up to World Cup

In Manchester, it’s hard to see where the two could force their way into the starting lineup again. Ten Hag may choose to utilise the England internationals for Europa League matches, in order to give the first-team a rest from the demanding Premier League schedule – which is set to intensify in the lead-up to the World Cup.

Following his lack of minutes and recent performances for England, it provides a difficult situation for Southgate on whether to continue putting his faith into Maguire when November rolls around. Despite not always playing to his best level for United, the centre-back has been a crucial figure in England’s past two tournaments; Euro 2020 and the 2018 World Cup. Still, it’s a risk to include a player solely based on their past involvements, especially when they aren’t getting enough competitive minutes at their club.