Graeme Souness believes Harry Maguire will succeed following his “bad run”, due to a key influence after a period of heavy criticism.
Maguire has not been in great form for United for some time. Indeed, he was one of the most heavily-criticised figures as United had a poor season last campaign.
The Red Devils failed to finish in the top four for the first time in three seasons. Naturally, that was below their standards, and as United captain, Maguire was expected to do more.
There were even reports linking him with a move away from United in the summer. Indeed, with Lisandro Martinez being snapped up, it seemed Maguire’s place may have been in jeapoardy.
Chelsea were linked with a move for the Englishman, but nothing came of their apparent interest.
At the beginning of the season, Maguire was still in United’s starting lineup. The centre-back started the first two league games, before being relegated to the bench.
Since then, game time has been hard to come by. Indeed, Maguire has made just six appearances in all competitions so far.
Martinez has formed a partnership with Raphael Varane at the heart of the defence. That partnership is one that former United defender Rio Ferdinand thinks makes United “a different team”.
With Varane out through injury, Victor Lindelof has been the preferred deputy. Maguire has recently returned from an injury of his own, though Lindelof is seen as the better option.
Souness believes Maguire could snatch opportunity
With Varane out for a few weeks, though, Souness feels it could be Maguire that benefits. Indeed, the centre-back played 45 minutes in the Europa League in the week.
“Injury to Raphael Varane may hand Harry Maguire another chance for Manchester United against West Ham and I hope he takes it,” Souness said in the Daily Mail.
Souness also admitted he feels for the defender, who has copped a lot of criticism over the past few months. The pundit feels Maguire is not the only United player who has performed poorly.
“Maguire has been overly criticised and I feel for him. He’s had a bad run of form but he’s not the only one,” he added.
New influence could aid Maguire
Souness feels Maguire can bounce back from the tough spot he currently finds himself in. Indeed, he feels a new influence in the squad could help him back into form.
“I think the boy has it in him to be a top player and with Casemiro playing in front of him, with a real defensive head who senses danger, I think he will be a far better defender. It will be interesting to see if he bounces back,” he said.
Indeed, with a top screen in front of him, Maguire could put together some better performances.
While he might be able to perform for a while, it will be tough for him to displace either Varane or Martinez completely.
Indeed, it is likely that, if he does play for a sustained period, when Varane is back to fitness, the Frenchman will retake his place at the back.