•   
  •   
W

Sport With Maguire missing at last, perhaps now the Man Utd captain will get the credit he deserves

10:50  13 may  2021
10:50  13 may  2021 Source:   goal.com

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reveals Glazer apology amid Manchester United fan protests

  Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reveals Glazer apology amid Manchester United fan protests The Red Devils boss weighed in on Sunday's events that saw the club's Premier League clash with Liverpool called offThe Manchester United manager was reacting to Sunday’s protests which saw the Liverpool game postponed after fans gained access to the Old Trafford pitch.

Harry Maguire did not travel with the Manchester United squad for Tuesday's Champions League Group H opener away to Paris Saint-Germain as manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed Bruno Fernandes will captain the visitors in the French capital. "We're a little bit depleted but we've got more than enough players," said Solskjaer, who is without Maguire , Mason Greenwood, Eric Bailly, Jesse Lingard and new signing Edinson Cavani for the game. "We hope that the players won't be away for too long.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed Harry Maguire will remain Manchester United 's captain this season despite his involvement in a Greek court case. Maguire was given a suspended 21-month sentence last month after the England defender was found guilty of assaulting a police officer, swearing, resisting arrest and bribery during an incident in Mykonos. The 27-year-old has denied the offences and has launched an appeal which nullifies the verdict and means he has no criminal record ahead of a full retrial.

It was a shame Harry Maguire's run of never missing a Premier League match for Manchester United had to end against his former club – even if Leicester City might have been pleased.

Harry Maguire wearing a black shirt: Manchester United captain Harry Maguire © Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images) Manchester United captain Harry Maguire

The United captain sat out Tuesday's 2-1 win for the Foxes at Old Trafford, a result that handed Manchester City the title and brought one of this season's few constants to an end.

Maguire had played in every minute of 71 consecutive league games for the Red Devils – and in his final five for Leicester before his transfer two years ago – until an unfortunate ankle injury saw him hobble off 78 minutes into his side's 3-1 win at Aston Villa last Sunday.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ready to anger Manchester United's top-four rivals with rotation in stacked schedule

  Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ready to anger Manchester United's top-four rivals with rotation in stacked schedule The Red Devils are facing a hectic run-in, meaning that their manager is going to have to tinker with his plans on a regular basisHaving seen their last Premier League fixture with Liverpool postponed following supporter protests at Old Trafford, a side sat comfortably in second spot and through to the Europa League final is having to revise its plans.

Harry Maguire has been ruled out of Manchester United 's last three Premier League games of the season with ligament damage but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is hoping he will recover for the Europa League final against Villarreal. The result put a big dent in Liverpool’s top-four hopes but Solskjaer said the criticism is of no concern to him . He said: “My job is Man Utd and my concern is the Man Utd fans, what they think about my team, what they want from my team and that we come together as one and show what Man Utd is.”

Harry Maguire has been ruled out of Manchester United 's last three Premier League games of the season with ligament damage but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is hoping he will recover for the Europa League final against Villarreal. The result put a big dent in Liverpool’s top-four hopes but Solskjaer said the criticism is of no concern to him . He said: “My job is Man Utd and my concern is the Man Utd fans, what they think about my team, what they want from my team and that we come together as one and show what Man Utd is.”

Granted, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may well have rested him for Leicester's visit anyway due to the "impossible" task of playing three Premier League games in five days, but the decision, in the end, was taken out of his hands as United's lingering title hopes finally died.

City were almost certain to win the league anyway and United are guaranteed a top-four finish, so their remaining league matches with Liverpool, Fulham and Wolves are of comparatively little importance even if second place is not yet secured. More pertinent is the looming Europa League final on May 26, when Solskjaer will get his first shot at silverware as United manager, possibly with his captain watching from the sidelines.

Depending on their performance and results in these coming four games, Maguire may at least be given some of the credit he deserves, which was notably scarce in that 71-match run.

Maguire blasts schedule that sees United play three times in five days

  Maguire blasts schedule that sees United play three times in five days The Red Devils travel to Villa Park on Sunday afternoon, before home games with Leicester on Tuesday and rivals Liverpool on Thursday. Maguire is aiming for a Premier League record.The Red Devils travel to Villa Park on Sunday afternoon, before home games with Leicester on Tuesday and rivals Liverpool on Thursday.

Harry Maguire has been ruled out of Manchester United 's last three Premier League games of the season with ligament damage but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is hoping he will recover for the Europa League final against Villarreal. The result put a big dent in Liverpool’s top-four hopes but Solskjaer said the criticism is of no concern to him . He said: “My job is Man Utd and my concern is the Man Utd fans, what they think about my team, what they want from my team and that we come together as one and show what Man Utd is.”

Harry Maguire has been ruled out of Manchester United 's last three Premier League games of the season with ligament damage but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is hoping he will recover for the Europa League final against Villarreal. The result put a big dent in Liverpool’s top-four hopes but Solskjaer said the criticism is of no concern to him . He said: “My job is Man Utd and my concern is the Man Utd fans, what they think about my team, what they want from my team and that we come together as one and show what Man Utd is.”

CAPTAIN'S RUN

Firstly, the simple reality of playing that many consecutive matches without a minute's rest is more remarkable than many seem to realise.

Since the start of 2019-20, Maguire has played for 9,615 minutes in all competitions, more than any other player across Europe's top five leagues. The next on that list is Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer on 8,700 minutes, a difference that equates to more than 10 full matches.

Critics would argue praising a footballer for playing is no different to lauding any other professional –  much less handsomely paid – for simply turning up for work, but starting 106 matches across two seasons, any two seasons, is commendable. Throw in the unprecedented disruption of a global pandemic, the lockdowns, the pause in training and matches, the restart, the brutal rescheduling and the persistent restrictions on personal travel, and what Maguire has managed points to an astonishing work ethic and dedication.

Ole delighted to deny City, but has Maguire injury concern

  Ole delighted to deny City, but has Maguire injury concern Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says denying Manchester City their title party on Sunday was the best part about Manchester United's 3-1 win at Aston Villa.United came from behind once again to win all three points at Villa Park thanks to second-half goals from Bruno Fernandes (pen), Mason Greenwood and Edinson Cavani, meaning City still need three points to secure the Premier League title.

Harry Maguire has been ruled out of Manchester United 's last three Premier League games of the season with ligament damage but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is hoping he will recover for the Europa League final against Villarreal. The result put a big dent in Liverpool’s top-four hopes but Solskjaer said the criticism is of no concern to him . He said: “My job is Man Utd and my concern is the Man Utd fans, what they think about my team, what they want from my team and that we come together as one and show what Man Utd is.”

Harry Maguire has been ruled out of Manchester United 's last three Premier League games of the season with ligament damage but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is hoping he will recover for the Europa League final against Villarreal. The result put a big dent in Liverpool’s top-four hopes but Solskjaer said the criticism is of no concern to him . He said: “My job is Man Utd and my concern is the Man Utd fans, what they think about my team, what they want from my team and that we come together as one and show what Man Utd is.”

Few people truly believe Maguire, or any defender, is worth the £80million United paid for him three years ago, but that kind of outlay undoubtedly looks better on a balance sheet when the 'asset' has been available for his team at every opportunity. Look at Eden Hazard, a €100m-plus Galactico who moved at the same time as Maguire and has played roughly a quarter of the number of minutes since for Real Madrid.

TOP OF THE CHARTS

Maguire has missed 11 games for United in all competitions, most of them in the domestic cups, so comparing them directly with and without their captain is a pretty redundant exercise.

Examining his individual numbers offers a broader picture of his influence, though. He has helped United to 42 clean sheets in all competitions, the most of any defender across Europe's top five leagues in that time. He is also directly responsible for by far the most clearances (391), headed clearances (244), duels won (645) and aerials won (432).

Anyone with Maguire's minutes will naturally build up those sorts of numbers, but his averages place him in good company, too. Since his United debut, Maguire's 3.66 headed clearances per 90 minutes is better than that of John Stones (2.47), Ruben Dias (2.86) and Antonio Rudiger (3.1), and a fraction behind Virgil van Dijk (3.94). His duels-won-per-90 rate of 6.04 is marginally better than Van Dijk's (5.95) and behind only Chris Basham, Jannik Vestergaard and James Tarkowski among central defenders from England's top tier.

Solskjaer hopes injured Maguire will be fit for Europa League final

  Solskjaer hopes injured Maguire will be fit for Europa League final Maguire was on the cusp of becoming the first outfield player in the club's history to complete 72 consecutive Premier League matches until being forced off towards the end of Sunday's win.However, United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hopes to have Maguire back for the Gdansk showpiece despite cameras showing the defender on crutches while wearing a protective boot after sustaining ankle ligament damage.

Unquestionably a good stopper, he has also proved suitably adept with the ball. Maguire has made 6,152 successful passes in his United career, again the most of any defender in those top European leagues over the same period. Of those passes, 2,142 have been completed in the opponent's half, which is the best figure for any nominal centre-back.

Compare United 2018-19 with how they have been since Maguire's arrival, and his impact becomes starker. In that season, when Solskjaer took over from Jose Mourinho in December 2018, only six Premier League teams conceded more goals than United (70) in all competitions, while their Expected Goals Against tally of 71.8 was the fourth worst among Premier League sides. They also faced 694 shots, the third most behind Arsenal (709) and Tottenham (718), and kept only 12 clean sheets. Man City kept 33.

In Maguire's first season, United conceded only 51 in all competitions, the fewest of any Premier League sides apart from Leicester (49) and Sheffield United (45), with their xGA dropping to 59.24, the lowest of the 'big six' apart from City (55.02). They also faced 79 fewer shots and kept 27 clean sheets, more than any other Premier League side.

United have already conceded 61 times this season, but 12 of those goals came in their first three league games just a month after their run to the previous Europa League semi-finals and shortly following a legal case involving Maguire in Greece. They still have the third-best defence in the Premier League, have lost the joint fewest games (five) and have kept 24 clean sheets in all competitions, behind only City and Chelsea (31).

Maguire's shock shake-up draws support

  Maguire's shock shake-up draws support Rugby league guru Phil Gould has backed Michael Maguire's stunning rejig of his Wests Tigers side for Magic Round.Maguire has moved Doueihi from five-eighth despite the fact the 22-year-old has arguably been the best of the Tigers during their underwhelming start to the season.

THE MAGUIRE WAY

Maguire can also claim to have had as much of an influence on United's patterns of play as any Solskjaer signing – barring Bruno Fernandes, of course.

Solskjaer's side have often faced difficulty against well-structured defences partly because the Red Devils sometimes lack players willing to break lines and pull opponents out of position. Counterintuitively, that's something Maguire does extremely well.

In the Premier League this season, only Ruben Dias (806) has completed more carries (moving with the ball five metres or more) than Maguire (685), who is regularly the starting point of positive United moves. Indeed, Maguire has started 24 open-play sequences to end in a shot, which is the highest number among Premier League centre-backs this term.

Similarly, Maguire has 93 shot build-up involvements, a useful measure of those players who actively contribute to attacking situations without actually taking the shot themselves. Again, only Dias (98) has more among centre-backs, while each of them has seen those involvements end in a goal 13 times, the most in the league.

Maguire has not only made United's defence more resolute; he has directly impacted their use of the ball. His absence in the coming games will be keenly felt, but at least the United captain might start to be acknowledged as one of the most influential players in England.

Harry Maguire looks a better player without playing this week .
Sometimes players prove their worth to a team by not playing and Maguire's absence during a hectic three days has only served to underscore his importance to United. It's a charge often levelled at Maguire that he is not an £80million defender - as if he decided his own transfer fee - but he's looked worth every penny this week.As Gary Lineker tweeted during Thursday's 4-2 Liverpool defeat: 'Sometimes people don't realise how good you are until you're not playing. @HarryMaguire93 is a case in point. @ManUtd looking shambolic defensively, with an without the ball, in his absence.

usr: 3
This is interesting!