Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Harry Maguire booed by Manchester United fans in Dublin as costly error leads to Athletic Bilbao goal

Harry Maguire faced boos from Manchester United fans after a costly mistake in their friendly match against Athletic Bilbao. Despite being named in the starting lineup, Maguire was not given the captain’s armband, which went to Tom Heaton instead. The defender’s error led to Bilbao scoring the first goal of the game, resulting in supporters booing him whenever he touched the ball.

Erik ten Hag’s decision to strip Maguire of the captaincy at the end of last season and give it to Bruno Fernandes on a permanent basis was a significant statement. However, Maguire’s performance in his return to the team did not do him any favors. Giving away the ball in his own half allowed Bilbao to break free and score, further intensifying the fans’ negative reaction.

While Maguire is likely to handle the criticism with resilience, it will undoubtedly fuel speculation about his future at the club. West Ham United has been linked with a potential move for the 30-year-old, reportedly making a £20 million offer. Nevertheless, sources indicate that Ten Hag wants Maguire to remain at the club, and their relationship remains amicable.

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An expensive defensive error by Manchester United’s Harry Maguire during their friendly match against Athletic Bilbao on Saturday was met with jeers from the fan-filled stadium in Dublin.

In the 19th minute of the game, Maguire was caught in possession by Bilbao’s Inigo Martinez who subsequently dribbled the ball past Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Juan Mata to score the only goal of the match.

The extensive transfer fee United paid to secure Maguire from Leicester City this summer may have been in the minds of a few of the fans, whose audible displeasure echoed around the pitch.

Maguire acknowledged his mistake while speaking to reporters post-game, saying: “It was a mistake and I’ll take it on the chin. It’s not nice to be booed by you own fans, but it’s football and people make mistakes.”

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer defended his new signing, however, saying that such errors are expected: “It was an error, but we don’t have to make a big thing out of it. Harry is our captain and he will learn and grow.”

When asked how Maguire seemed after the game, Solskjaer explained: “Harry is fine, of course. He felt a bit embarrassed for what happened, but that’s natural. He knows the expectations are high and that’s why he is here.”

United’s next test comes on Friday when they face LASK in the Europa League before the start of the Premier League season next month.

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