Tuesday 20 August 2019

World’s most expensive defender Harry Maguire makes Manchester United debut

The former Leicester centre-back helped keep a clean sheet as Chelsea were beaten 4-0.

Harry Maguire applauds the fans after the match (Martin Rickett/PA)
Harry Maguire applauds the fans after the match (Martin Rickett/PA)

By David Charlesworth, PA

Harry Maguire was thrust into his Manchester United debut against Chelsea in the same week the England international became the world’s most expensive defender.

Maguire was under the microscope at Old Trafford on Sunday after completing a protracted £80million transfer from Premier League rivals Leicester only six days earlier.

Here, PA takes an in-depth look at the former Sheffield United and Hull centre-back’s display.

Role

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Maguire holds off Chelsea’s Mason Mount (Martin Rickett/PA)

Maguire is still becoming accustomed to life in the north west and had only taken in a handful of training sessions with his new team-mates this week. But United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer clearly had no hesitation in including his latest signing as part of a new-look back four, with highly rated full-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka also making his debut. The Yorkshireman sat alongside Victor Lindelof at the heart of United’s back-line in what will probably be Solskjaer’s favoured pairing for now.

Positioning

Initially struggled to get to grips with Chelsea’s bright, young things, as Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount made a lively start, although any early rustiness was perhaps understandable. Former United manager Jose Mourinho, a pundit for Sky Sports, noted Maguire had to “cover” for fellow Englishman Luke Shaw on a number of occasions in the first half. Maguire, though, kept a tight leash on Abraham after a slightly chaotic opening, allowing the Blues forward precious little breathing room.

Distribution

Maguire dispossessing Abraham started the chain that led to United’s second. Seemed unflustered whenever he had the ball and was happy get forward whenever the opportunity presented itself – largely at set-pieces. There will be times when Maguire is a handful at corners or free-kicks but he did not get many chances to show that here.

Overall

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A Manchester United fan wearing a Harry Maguire kit before the game (Martin Rickett/PA)

The early stages did not augur well for Maguire but he and the rest of United’s defenders weathered the storm to firmly subdue Chelsea’s attacking threat, to the extent that Abraham and his replacement Olivier Giroud were virtually anonymous in the second half. There may be some kinks to iron out as the season wears on and it is very early days but he and Lindelof already look assured together.

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