Norwich City take shot at Harry Maguire with Grant Hanley comparison
After an excellent Euro 2020 with England, Harry Maguire’s club form has tanked for Manchester United this season.
As noted this week, Maguire is one of our contenders for United’s worst player of the season, a contest with more possible winners in 2021/22 than ever before.
But the lowest point of Maguire’s campaign may have arrive this week, when Norwich City’s twitter account compared his statistics for the season with Grant Hanley.
Hanley is a defender for the worst ranked team in the league, who cost his club £5.5 million. Maguire meanwhile cost £80 million, a world record for a defender.
Two defenders compared
Norwich’s tweet is designed to praise Grant Hanley, but it also shows how Maguire’s season is being viewed from the outside, that he is noted as a player the Canaries can fairly compare him to.
As you can see, both defenders have played the same number of games and kept the same number of clean sheets.
From Manchester United’s perspective, managing only six clean sheets, the same number as 20th placed Norwich, is a shameful record and shows part of where the club have been going wrong all season.
Some statistics above are a little skewed. It is natural for a team based at the bottom of the league to have to face a high number of duels and record a higher number of tackles. For the record, Virgil van Dijk has only won 11 tackles for Liverpool this season, because he simply hasn’t needed to make many.
The tweet is somewhat eye-opening though. We all know Maguire has been underwhelming this season, and the comparison shows how downright ordinary the Manchester United centre-back has been.
It is almost impossible to imagine another Manchester United captain in recent memory receiving similar treatment, with a possible exception of Ashley Young.
For Maguire it is a sad indictment that his performances are considered comparable to a defender at the bottom of the league, destined for relegation. In a tough season for Norwich you can’t blame them for looking to try and find a bright spot or two, and Hanley is undoubtedly one of them.
Honestly looking at the displays of the two, you would probably struggle to pick them apart, with Hanley playing well against United in the meeting between the two teams in December when a Ronaldo penalty was required to secure a 1-0 away win. Maguire meanwhile has not looked comfortable all season.
Nothing is going right for Maguire right now, with this summed up in United’s defeat at Everton last weekend. Anthony Gordon’s matchwinning shot took a deflection off Maguire, into the back of the net. It wasn’t his fault, but when you aren’t playing well or having much luck, the bad breaks go against you.
Maguire will hope to retain his starting place against Norwich this weekend, and edge ahead of Hanley in terms of clean sheets, although he will need United’s unconvincing forward line to do him a favour.
One thing you can say for Maguire, is that his effort can’t be faulted. Late against Everton he was one of the players who showed he did care, winning a header in the box which led to a late Ronaldo chance.
Two seasons ago Maguire scored an extra-time winner to knock Norwich out of the FA Cup. He might need a similar big moment this weekend to give his unfortunate season a much needed lift.