Maguire: Patience has paid off in United revival


Harry Maguire of Manchester United applauds the fans at the final whistle during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Luton Town at Old Trafford on November 11, 2023 in Manchester, England. 

Harry Maguire said his decision to stay at Manchester United in the summer has been vindicated after breaking back into Erik ten Hag's team.

After a frustrating first season under Ten Hag, Maguire was close to a move to West Ham United during the transfer window, but ended up staying at Old Trafford.

He started the current campaign on the bench, but has started the last eight games in all competitions and believes it shows he was right to remain at United.

"I played a few games last year, 16 or 17 starts, and I felt like I performed really well in the games I played in, I just didn't play as many as I would have liked," Maguire said. "On the other hand, Rapha [Raphaël Varane] and Licha [Lisandro Martínez] were playing brilliantly and kept numerous clean sheets.

"I had to bide my time and be patient. I had two or three opportunities last season to get a run of games but I broke down with illness, I broke down with injuries twice, so I never got the rhythm and never got the run of games that I could prove myself to the manager. I have got that now.

"I am really enjoying my football and I really enjoy playing for this club. I was willing to stay and fight for my place and we have four or five top international centre-backs at this club and the competition for places is really high."

Maguire, who still holds the title of world's most-expensive defender thanks to his £80 million move from Leicester City in 2019, has won back his place following Martinez's lengthy injury lay-off.

Meanwhile, Ten Hag has hinted he's not keen on a combination of Maguire and Varane at the back and for Saturday's 1-0 win over Luton, Victor Lindelöf was preferred over the Frenchman.

Maguire didn't start a Premier League game until October but, with Martinez set to be out until after Christmas, the 30-year-old is now a fixture in the team.

"Working hard in training is the main thing and making sure you're ready," added Maguire. "I started 16 or 17 games last year and felt like my form was there. There was a lot of talk about me because I wasn't playing games, but that is the way it is. I was playing well for my country, went to the World Cup and played well and always thought my form was there.

"But I am up against some top, top-level centre-backs and last year they were playing amazing, so I didn't get as many opportunities as I would have liked. This club demands competition for places and that is what we have in my position."

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