Manchester United captain Harry Maguire has finally spoken out about the criticism he has received from fans over the past year.
Last season, when United exploded and fell apart under Ralf Rangnick and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the English defender found himself at the short end of the fury of most United supporters, who blamed him due to his extensive and error-prone ways led the team to concede scores of goals.
Maguire became the laughingstock and poster boy for United’s shortcomings. The defender was not helped by the fact that club bosses paid a world record fee for a defender for him, yet he constantly made mistakes that would cost his team dearly.
The culmination of all this ridicule was that the former Leicester City player saw hundreds of videos of failures and compilations of his mistakes posted on social media. Things boiled over when Maguire started getting booed by his own fans who got tired of him.
It got so bad that the player and his family received a bomb threat, prompting the police to conduct a thorough search of his home.
Maguire spoke to The Times, saying: “I still didn’t really understand what was being said about me, I do my best to ignore what’s going on in the outside world. Nobody likes to be talked about badly. He is just a human trait that we all have.”
“The bottom line is, when you’re in the spotlight, that will happen. And I totally get it. But when my family reads it, or things go to extremes, then it’s probably harder for them to understand.”
On why he appears to have the biggest target on his back, Maguire blamed the embarrassing act of only watching short reels and game highlights on social media instead of the traditional way of watching a full 90 minutes of football.
He added: “Increasingly, fans prefer short, consumable, high-octane football moments, rather than the time-consuming reality of an entire match. Which is a shame for the game, really.”
Another reason he gave that contributes to his denigration is football fanaticism online, where the importance of opinion has become greater than ever. According to Maguire, since most fans do not see football with their own eyes, they tend to be influenced by the mob mentality and conform to the dominant views of groupthink.
He recounted in his interview that these fans are influenced by some people with a vitriolic point of view or by highlights reporting negatively against a certain person or player. Simply put, most fans can’t separate the faults of the team from those of an individual.
Maguire alluded to The Times that he may have fallen into this vice and become the victim of a critical mass of opinion online that paints him as a poor player.
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