Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has hailed Manchester United captain Harry Maguire for ‘leading by example’ after the Englishman started the Reds’ comeback win on Saturday.
United trailed Newcastle United from early on at St. James’ Park and Maguire headed home to equalise before half-time. Solskjaer’s side took a while to get ahead but eventually raced to a 4-1 lead as goals came from Bruno Fernandes, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Marcus Rashford.
Maguire has had a tough start to the season. United’s captain came into the campaign off the back of a high-profile summer in which he was arrested in Mykonos, Greece. Earlier this week he was sent off for England and suffered national humiliation.
Solskjaer hails ‘inspirational’ Maguire
Solskjaer was keen to point out the impact of United’s “very inspirational captain” in their win against Newcastle.
“The boys came together really well,” Solskjaer said, as per BBC Sport.
“Great result and great character to come back, led by a very inspirational captain.”
Maguire leads by example – Solskjaer
“Harry scored and leads by example. I am happy for him.
“Harry is a character, he has great resilience and wants to play.
“There is no hiding place and if you go away you prolong the criticism, He wanted to play and even though he wasn’t 100 per cent fit, he played well. He is a very well liked lad.”
“The season started for us today. We have come up to the speed of the game and that showed today.”
Maguire was indeed impressive. His goal was an excellent header – accurate and powerful enough to beat Karl Darlow.
It’s satisfying to see. Last season, Maguire had more than 30 headed attempts on goal and converted only one of them. In fact, it was against Newcastle at St. James’ Park where he missed one of those simple headed opportunities. This time it worked out for him. It has to happen more.
But it was in defence as well where Maguire led, with seven recoveries and an 85% winning rate in the air.
It’s a much-needed confidence boost for Maguire. Without such a performance, his season – and his United career – could have gradually tailed off. But this gets him back on track.
Fernandes hails ‘big man’ Maguire
Bruno Fernandes was eager to point out a similar theme.
“H [Harry Maguire] is a big man,” Fernandes said.
“He is playing for the national team and Manchester United. It is, of course, difficult for every player being under fire but he did what he had to do on the pitch. He scored. We can push him and he can push us.”
It demonstrates the fickle nature of football. Maguire, for all his faults, was one of United’s better performers in the 2019/20 campaign but a small collection of bad performances at the start of this one led to a rally of calls for his removal from the side.
This was a fine performance. There needs to be more, but a reset is exactly what Maguire needed.
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