Man Utd star Harry Maguire has staggering stats and is a vital Ole Gunnar Solskjaer asset
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IT remains puzzling to plenty at Manchester United that some ‘fans’ believe the £78million or so the club paid for Harry Maguire was significantly over the odds. Especially when you take a step back.
Taken in isolation, yes it was a lot of money, but not when set against Paul Pogba’s club record £91m transfer fee or David De Gea’s club record £375,000 a week wages.
But if there are those still critical of the Yorkshireman’s output in a red shirt they might want to consider the value for money they are getting with the centre half.
Because when you weigh up the sweat and graft Maguire has put in this season, surely the only conclusion those critics could come to was it is a damned good job he is not being paid by the hour.
If a manager was building a centre half from scratch, Maguire would be the framework most would start with.
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Physically powerful, quick enough, comfortable with the ball at his feet, commanding and a decent distributor.
Yes he is prone to the occasional lapse but no centre half who ever laced up boots has ever been perfect.
What is most amazing about Maguire is his resilience.
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No one outfield player operating in England at the moment has put more effort this season, more minutes or played in more games.
Maguire’s stats are staggering.
In 34 games, the centre half has been on a football field just one half short of 51 hours this season.
Add in another five hours and one minute in an England shirt and you have officially the hardest working footballer quite probably in the world at the moment.
To put that into context Aaron Wan-Bissaka is second in terms of minutes at 2,723 against Maguire’s 3,045 but has played three fewer games.
Spurs midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg has played in 33 games and has racked up 2,649 minutes.
Liverpool’s Andy Robertson (31 games, 2,638 minutes), United teammate Bruno Fernandes (34 games, 2,632 minutes) and Eric Dier (30 games, 2,566 minutes) are next in the list.
No one else comes close.
After playing 120 minutes in freezing temperatures against West Ham on Tuesday night the hard-working Maguire was immediately made available to MUTV for a post match interview.
In it he joked that the side had a “little break now” before their next game against West Brom on Sunday.
Realising it was just four clear days between games a smile crept across his face. “Well it feels like one,” he said. “It is quite long given what it has been like this season.”
It is against this context that those rare lapses should be judged.
No centre half is immune from mistakes, not Ruben Dias, not Virgil Van Dijk and certainly not Maguire.
But those who would jump on him for mistakes – some not of his own making – might want to consider that the longer you are out there defending the more chance there is of the odd one getting through.
Yes £78m was a lot to pay but pound for pound United continue to get plenty back for their money.
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