Published On: Fri, Sep 15th, 2023
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Harry Maguire told what Man Utd action to take as Dimitar Berbatov wades into abuse | Football | Sport

Dimitar Berbatov has told Harry Maguire that his next performance for Manchester United must be flawless if he is to regain the trust of supporters and Erik ten Hag. The England international has been the subject of immense abuse over the past 12 months, with his mother and Gareth Southgate among those to speak out on the matter recently.

Maguire was expected to leave the Red Devils over the summer after West Ham arrived with an offer, but he opted not to make the move down to London and chose to fight for his place at United. He has since played 23 minutes of Premier League football for the club and fallen to the bottom of the pecking order under Ten Hag, below Victor Lindelof.

The ex-Leicester City star has retained his spot in Southgate’s England plans, but an own goal against Scotland earlier this week prompted a barrage of abuse directed at the 30-year-old. Numerous ex-players have since spoken out about Maguire’s treatment, with Berbatov the latest former Red Devils star to offer him some advice.

He told Betfair: “If he gets the chance to play from the first minute for United, then Maguire will be playing for his career. He cannot make any mistakes. Whenever he makes a mistake, he will be making his situation even worse.

“He should play it simple, with one or two touches. He should try not to overdo stuff, but it starts with if he will be given the chance to play. He will need the trust of the manager.”

With Raphael Varane ruled out with injury for a few more weeks and Lisandro Martinez also nursing a foot problem, there is every chance that Ten Hag could turn to Maguire over the coming weeks when he reshuffles his backline, and Southgate will be among those hoping that the centre-back shows his worth at Old Trafford.

The England manager has reiterated on several occasions that he has belief in Maguire, and Berbatov understands why Three Lions supporters have raised questions about the selection. The ex-Tottenham forward continued: “In the case of Harry, the abuse has been going on for too long. Southgate likes him as a player – and he is a good player – and he is trying to help him by calling him up to the national team, and trying to tell him that he counts on him. He was also wearing the armband when Harry Kane came off.

“It shows that the national manager trusts in him, and this is one of the things that will help him get through the difficult situation that he is in. There are people judging Southgate’s decision, asking why he is playing people who are not playing regularly for their team. He is still calling them up to the national team, while there are players who are playing for their teams that are not being called up.”

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