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Harry Maguire the hero and Casemiro written off: what a difference a day makes – Man United News And Transfer News


What a boost it would be if Harry Maguire were to become the powerful, towering, impressive defender that United paid over £80 million for from Leicester City back in 2019.

I sincerely hope that happens, but the hype around one halfway decent performance against bottom-of-the-table Sheffield United borders on hysteria.

It was another lacklustre performance by United yet it still feels as if the man-of-the-match award for Maguire was given for not messing up as much as doing anything really exceptional. One of the least poor in a poor performance.

There was not a lot made in the British commentary on a possible hand ball in the box early in the first half – nor on a blatant foul on McAtee in the area in the second half which certainly could have – and maybe should have – been given as a penalty for the Blades.

Maybe that’s the bit of luck Maguire needed to turn his fortunes around and if it gets the cruel taunting and booing to stop, then great. But without wishing to bash the player myself, I just can’t see how a shift from the worst form of his life to even the best form of his life would in any way mean Maguire can or should win his place back in United’s first choice starting XI.

Form does not change his mobility, his top speed and his acceleration, all of which as he turns 30 will start to decline from a level that was already insufficient for a top four Premier League side.

As quick as we are to anoint Maguire as the new saviour, how quick we are to write off Casemiro after a poor start to the season.

Hailed by some as the best defensive midfielder in the world just a few months ago, did Casemiro lose all his ability somewhere on the Copacabana beach over the summer? Why is everyone so quick to say his purchase was a mistake and that he needs replacing? Why is everyone saying how clever Real Madrid were to sell him to us, knowing he was washed up?

Lisandro Martinez also started the season badly but then it became obvious that he was still carrying a problem due to the foot injury sustained last season. Perhaps Casemiro has also started the season with a problem that is impeding his performance. He did not become a bad player overnight.

Clearly there is a bit of a psychological problem with the Brazilian due to the red cards sustained last season. It appeared to rattle him and he seemed to start second guessing himself, either avoiding tackles altogether or diving in recklessly. But surely a little support and patience from the fans and help from the sports psychologists at the club should be able to resolve that.

Three or four bad games do not signal the end for a player who has been one of the world’s best for seven or eight years. He is 31 years old and surely has another three or four seasons left in him at the top level. Likewise, Maguire, just one year and one month younger than the Brazilian, is unlikely to suddenly become world class after four years of mediocrity at best.

Let’s all calm down a bit here. With Maguire’s confidence issues behind him, he could remain a decent backup option at United but nothing more. With Casemiro’s confidence and/or injury issues behind him, he could remain the most important player in the United side for years to come.

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