Harry Maguire could become a “total different player” with new bodies around him for Manchester United next season, claims Jaap Stam.
It has been a season to forget for Manchester United and their club captain. They almost certainly cannot qualify for the Champions League next term. Even their place in the Europa League has been under threat.
Questions have been asked of many of their key players amid the underwhelming run of results. Captain Maguire has been the subject of scrutiny more than most.
There have been rumours he could lose the captaincy or even leave the club altogether. However, others believe the world’s costliest defender still has something to prove.
Joining those defending him has been one of his Manchester United predecessors, Stam. The Dutchman has admitted that there have been mistakes from Maguire, but that could be a side-effect of the pressure of his price tag.
What’s more, if new players arrive in the summer, the former Leicester City star could get back to his best.
“I still think Harry is a good player, is a good defender,” Stam told the Press Association.
“You need to understand, every player – and I’ve had it myself as well – goes through rough spells, that he’s having a hard time, the confidence is a bit low, he’s not feeling well, making mistakes.
“But when you cost 100million and you’re making a mistake, yeah, the pressure on you is a lot more than when you’re costing a few quid.
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“He’s played this season good games as well. Having this season now and maybe a new coach coming in, having a fresh start, (he will be) learning a lot from this season as well and what he’s done and what he needs to do.
“Does he need to make a change or not? Maybe having different players next to him or in front of him can help him out as well in terms of feeling more confident, so maybe next season you’ll see a total different player.”
Stam suggests Van de Beek can also benefit from same factors as Maguire
Stam had similar words of advice for another Man Utd struggler, Donny van de Beek. His compatriot is currently on loan at Everton after struggling for starts at Old Trafford.
But he showed his potential before at Ajax – under incoming United boss Erik ten Hag, coincidentally. Therefore, Stam thinks (like Maguire) he needs confidence and better players around him if he returns to the fold.
“There is a talent and everybody has seen that as well,” Stam said. “We all know that.
“The only thing is that a talent needs to get confidence. That’s for everybody.
“Every player needs to have confidence otherwise it’s difficult to perform. But that’s also for Donny.
“The other thing is that, yeah, you could put Donny in there and then thinking ‘OK, he’s going to produce’, but he also needs to have players around him who will make life easier for him as well to produce.”
Van de Beek is under contract with his parent club until 2025. Maguire’s deal expires in the same year, although Man Utd can extend it by a further 12 months should they wish.