Ashley Young has hailed Harry Maguire as an “unbelievable” player for England, despite the fierce criticism that the former Manchester United captain has received.
Maguire was stripped of the club captaincy in the summer — and subsequently succeeded by Bruno Fernandes as skipper — and was heavily linked with an exit from United.
West Ham agreed a deal believed to be in the region of £30m for Maguire, but the Hammers called off their move for the United defender before the window closed.
Young on ‘fantastic’ Maguire
The 30-year-old England defender was mocked after he came off the bench and bundled the ball into the back of his net in the Three Lions’ 3-1 win over Scotland.
England manager Southgate came out after the match to staunchly defend the under-fire Maguire, who was praised as an “incredible player” for the Three Lions.
Speaking on talkSPORT, Young defended his former England and United teammate by calling Maguire a “fantastic” player.
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“You look at what he’s done for England, his performances for the national team have been unbelievable,” he said.
“That’s not something he needed. I played with him and I know how good of a player he is and what he brings to a team. When you play for Manchester United, you are always in the limelight.
“Maguire could have gone to West Ham but who knows what was happening with him.
“I think he’ll be okay, but the person he is and the people he has got around him will be telling him he’s still a fantastic player, which he is [and] you can’t take that away from him.”
Ten Hag defends under-fire Maguire
Despite losing his place as United’s captain, Maguire has remained at Old Trafford for the new season and Erik ten Hag has urged the England international to fight for his place.
Maguire has seen his playing time limited at United under Ten Hag and is battling for regular first-team football, having made only one Premier League appearance this season.
Ten Hag, much like Southgate, defended the United centre-back amid the “crazy” abuse he has received and called on Maguire to “block” it out with his performances.
“I have said many times, it is disrespectful and he doesn’t deserve it,” he said at his pre-match press conference on Friday.
“He is a great player and gives great performances. It’s crazy but it’s how it works and Harry has to block this by performances.
“It’s unjustified when you see his career. It’s a great career and it has a lot to come but he has to block it [with] good performances.”