Jaap Stam calls on Manchester United players to do more to help their under-fire captain Harry Maguire… who the Dutchman claims is an ‘easy target’ for criticism amid torrid run of form
- Jaap Stam urged Harry Maguire’s team-mates to help him rediscover his form
- The former United defender believes Maguire is an ‘easy target’ for criticism
- Maguire has endured a torrid season and was booed by England fans
- His struggles have led to calls for him to be stripped of the United captaincy
Jaap Stam has urged Harry Maguire’s Manchester United team-mates to help drag their under-fire captain out of his torrid run of form that has sparked calls for the defender to be stripped of the armband at Old Trafford.
Maguire has endured a troubled campaign with United this season and faced an onslaught of criticism for his performances, becoming an unwanted poster boy for the Red Devils’ difficulties.
The defender’s issues reached a nadir this week when he was booed by a section of England supporters during the 3-0 friendly victory over Ivory Coast at Wembley on Tuesday.
Harry Maguire has been frequently criticised after a poor season for Manchester United
Former United defender Jaap Stam has urged Maguire’s team-mates to do more to help him
Former United centre-back Stam, who could return to Old Trafford in a coaching capacity if his Dutch counterpart Erik ten Hag is appointed manager, said Maguire was an ‘easy target’ – and called on his team-mates to make life easier for the beleaguered 29-year-old.
‘He’s an easy target because it’s easy to say that he is making mistakes or wrong choices,’ Stam told Betting Expert.
‘Everybody, even when I played, I made mistakes, I made wrong choices as well.
‘I think for him, and that’s what I meant, by what I said before, he also needs to have help from his teammates. He also needs to have the confidence of people around him and they will have for him. But also from outside as well, so he can make these steps.’
Stam, a key part of United’s treble-winning team in 1999, said Maguire’s team-mattes ‘need to tell him as well what he needs to do, and how he needs to play’.
‘He’s doing well within the national team as well when he plays,’ the Dutchman added. ‘So he’s shown that he can play at a high level in the national team, not only for the country but also I think at Manchester United.
Maguire was booed by a section of England fans during the friendly win over Ivory Coast
Stam, a treble winner with United in 1999, said Maguire was an ‘easy target’ for criticism
‘It’s about letting people say, ‘okay, what do you need to tell the player, so he becomes a better player?’. And that means individually and give him a few pointers that make it easier for him to become a better player.
‘And now we’re talking specifically about Harry (Maguire) as an individual, but also the players around him. The midfield players and the other centre back, the two full backs and the goalkeeper.
‘They also need to help him out, to give him more options on the ball or to take a better position so he feels maybe more comfortable defending.
‘So it’s not only about one thing, it’s about several things that need to come together to eventually come out on top.’
Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher said this week that Maguire is struggling to improve his form due to his lack of authority in the United dressing room.
There have been growing calls for Maguire – the most expensive defender of all time having joined United from Leicester in an £80million deal in 2019 – to be replaced as captain at Old Trafford.
‘Since last summer, Maguire has been looking over his shoulder amid a debate as to whether he or Cristiano Ronaldo should be captain,’ Carragher wrote in his Telegraph column.
‘Rather than reassert his leadership, he has fallen short. That has affected his performances.’
Maguire has been a figurehead of Southgate’s England side since the 2018 World Cup and has generally performed well for his country.
He has often failed to replicate those displays in the red of United – although he had played every minute in the Premier League last season before sustaining an injury in May that kept him out of the Europa League final, which United lost on penalties to Villarreal.