Harry Maguire

Jordan Pickford has claimed Manchester United’s Harry Maguire takes criticism really well because he is mentally strong.

Maguire is currently fourth-choice centre-back at United and he’s made just three Premier League starts this season. Erik ten Hag has preferred to start Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane, while he’s tended to favour Victor Lindelof in the latter’s absence.

Although Maguire has not regularly featured in the Premier League, he was named in the England squad for the Qatar World Cup.

Gareth Southgate, who has given Maguire his unwavering support throughout his tenure, started him in the Three Lions’ opening World Cup game against Iran and the centre-back provided an assist for Bukayo Saka’s first goal before half-time.

Maguire was also close to finding the back of the net himself when hitting the crossbar with a strong header in the first half.

The United captain received praise for his performance against Iran after being forced to deal with intense criticism over the last 18 months following a poor 2021-22 season with United.

Maguire’s England teammate Pickford said much of the criticism Maguire has received is unjustified.

“Part of being a footballer is being criticised, as everyone gets criticised in football,” Pickford said at England’s press conference on Wednesday. “But of course, he needs to be respected a lot more, although Harry is mentally strong and takes it really well.

“I think it’s a bit unfair but his performances on the pitch show why he has so many caps for England and is captain of Man United.

“Harry has done unbelievable. There was a pass for the first goal [Iran], then the assist with the set-piece and he maybe could have got us a penalty. Myself and Harry have a great relationship. The majority of my caps have been with Harry playing in front of me.

“We work really well together. Our defensive record with Harry playing there is really good as well and he is in a very good moment.”

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