According to pundit Martin Keown, Harry Maguire is not the biggest problem with the current Manchester United first team.
- Underwhelming start for United
- Keown defends Maguire
- Criticises Ten Hag’s midfield
WHAT HAPPENED? Speaking on a talkSPORT show, Keown defended Maguire, suggesting that the Red Devils’ main problems lie a little further up the pitch. United signed Mason Mount over the summer to bolster Ten Hag’s midfield, but the former Chelsea man has struggled in his first few games with the club, and that area of the pitch has looked like a real concern.
WHAT THEY SAID: “Some of us talk about driving buses through football teams, and I think you could do that right now with Manchester United,” Keown told talkSPORT. “It’s really the midfield that’s the issue and Harry Maguire isn’t necessarily the problem.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: The issue in the middle of the park could be resolved yet. On deadline day, United finally confirmed the signing of Moroccan defensive midfielder Sofyan Amrabat, who was crucial in helping his team become the first-ever African nation to reach the World Cup semi-finals at Qatar 2022. The highly-rated 27-year-old, who joined for a season-long loan fee of €10 million (£8.55m/$10.85m) – with an option to buy next summer – will look to plug the gap at the base of United’s midfield.
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WHAT NEXT FOR MAGUIRE? Meanwhile, despite seemingly constant pressure and criticism from all sides, including during England’s disappointing 1-1 draw with Ukraine, Maguire continues to fight for his place in Ten Hag’s first team. Injuries to Raphael Varane, Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia have left United with a depleted defence, meaning that at least for now, the Dutch coach may have to rely on the English centre-back.
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