EPL

Maguire criticism a 'disaster' – Matic defends former Man Utd team-mate

By Sports Desk September 25, 2022

Former Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic believes criticism of Harry Maguire has been over the top, likening it to a "disaster".

United made Maguire the most expensive defender of all time when they signed him from Leicester City in 2019 and he quickly established himself as a key player, even becoming captain.

But after a fairly promising first couple of years, Maguire's popularity among supporters has decreased significantly, with the England centre-back's performances routinely questioned last season.

The situation turned particularly ugly in April when Maguire received a bomb threat to his home.

Maguire was dropped by new manager Erik ten Hag after United lost their first two matches of the new Premier League season, but Matic – now at Roma – feels his former colleague has been treated dreadfully by the average fan on social media, suggesting the criticism comes from a place of jealousy.

"What people are doing to him, it is a disaster," Matic told The Times.

"Everything has to have limits and some of these people writing on social media, they don't have their own lives so they just have to write bad things about someone else."

Individual criticism of Maguire over the past year or so has also come against a backdrop of flak aimed at the United team in general, as they slumped to a sixth-placed finish last season with their worst points total (58) in the Premier League era.

Former United captain Roy Keane is among the most vocal television pundits when it comes to analysis of the Red Devils, and he also went on something of a rant about Matic towards the end of his time at Old Trafford.

Shortly after Matic confirmed he was to leave United, Keane took umbrage with the Serbian making such a decision before the end of the season and saying former club Chelsea also still had a place in his heart.

Matic provided a measured response, saying: "I have respect for what he has done but he needs to understand that football has changed.

"If I played for Chelsea, I cannot say I hate them. I cannot be angry when I'm talking to the press after the game.

"The way he behaved on pitch, 70 per cent of it is a red card today. You cannot throw a punch when all the cameras in the world are there.

"The real hero is when you go out on the street and say something, but he was always very nice with me, so what he says in public, to be honest, I don't really care.

"I know what I've done in my career and I'm very happy."

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