Former footballer and commentator Paul Merson has confessed that he called up Harry Maguire to apologise for his criticism of the English defender. Maguire had joined Manchester United in 2019. Merson had branded the £80 million transfer as “ridiculous.”
Merson was prompt enough to regret his choice of words. He called up Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers to fetch Maguire’s number. “I didn’t feel comfortable with myself. I needed to ring him and say, ‘I don’t agree with the £80m but I shouldn’t have said that and I’m sorry’. I went a little bit too far. He couldn’t believe it. Probably thought it was a joke. I don’t think he has had a fair crack. He’s struggling and he’s playing on the left when he’s right-footed,” Merson revealed during an interview with The Telegraph.
Maguire became world’s most expensive defender after he signed for Manchester United. Merson, at that point of time, had suggested that Maguire will not be able to excel at the heart of United’s defence. Merson claimed that the only reason Maguire emerged as a successful defender in international football is because he played for England in a three centre-back formation, and will not be successful in a United back two.
Maguire has till now played 149 matches for Manchester United but it has not been a fruitful stint. He has only managed to play three matches in this Premier League season. Two of those three starts were in the period when Manchester United endured two defeats in a row against Brighton and Hove Albion and Brentford.
Maguire came on as a substitute in the 90th minute during Manchester United’s Europa League encounter against FC Sherrif in Moldova.
Things were not so bleak for Maguire in the 2019-20 season. He had emerged as the busiest player in world football that season, featuring in 5,490 minutes in a row over 61 games.
Maguire’s performance at Manchester United has not been noteworthy this season but the 29-year-old still managed to secure his berth in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the two matches ahead of the Qatar World Cup.
For England, Maguire has till now played 46 matches. He also has seven goals to his name while playing for his country.