Gary Neville backs Harry Maguire to come through his struggles at Man United… as he claims the defender will feel ‘bulletproof’ when he returns to Old Trafford after impressing for England at the World Cup
Maguire has been fiercely criticised for his poor form at United – and has lost his place in the starting XI – but has been a mainstay of Gareth Southgate’s side in Qatar.
The 29-year-old played every minute of England’s 3-0 win over Wales and the draw with the USA, and was withdrawn after 70 minutes in the victory against Iran due to illness.
Neville told Sky Sports that Maguire could follow in the footsteps of Marcus Rashford, who also went through a tough period at Old Trafford before regaining his confidence and his place in the starting XI.
Gary Neville believes Harry Maguire will come through his tough period at Manchester United
Maguire, 29, has been in impressive form for England at the World Cup in Qatar
‘Harry is a good player and a good centre-back who has been brilliant at the last two tournaments – he’s just had an awful time at United in the last 12 months and United is a very unforgiving place, I know that from being there for 20 years,’ the former United defender-turned pundit said.
‘If something isn’t right, that place can eat you alive, and Harry is just getting that at the moment.
‘But I think he will come through it at United. Look at Marcus, he’s been through a difficult period where he probably thought “is my own club turning on me, is my own city not mine anymore? Do I need to move somewhere else? But he’s come out of it the other side.
‘There are great players that I played with at United who went through the same sort of experience, where it was tough for them for a period. They came through it, were better for it and they’re more resilient.
‘I don’t think Rashford or Maguire when they come out of this tournament will feel phased or lacking in confidence anymore.
Neville said Maguire could follow United team-mate Marcus Rashford in regaining his form for his club
Rashford has scored three goals for England at the World Cup and has also rediscovered his United form
‘I went through a tough period in my career, playing poorly for United and England, but I came through it and felt bulletproof… and that’s what they will feel when they go back to United.’
Neville said Maguire ‘feels more loved by England’ and is more at home with the Three Lions compared to being at United.
‘I don’t think I can think of a player playing better for their country than their club in my career,’ he added. ‘Harry Maguire plays better for his country than his club.
‘There are a number of players that feel that way, like Raheem Sterling. You look at him in that game against Iran – that’s better form than we’ve seen him at Chelsea this season. He feels better, feels at home, they’ve got a good group and a manager who believes in them and has selected them regularly.
Maguire has been a mainstay of England’s side at the World Cup and has started all three group games
‘I didn’t think Harry would play, and if he did I thought it would be on the left of a back three.
‘So for Harry to play the first games like he has, I think is a massive success and gives him great confidence.’
England will play Senegal in the round of 16 after topping Group B thanks to the comfortable win over Wales.
Maguire is likely to start his fourth consecutive match at the tournament in the knockout clash on Sunday.