Roy Keane is rarely short of things to say when it comes to Manchester United and Harry Maguire has been on the receiving end of the Irishman’s outbursts more than most. As United’s captain during the rollercoaster years under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Maguire has acted like a lightning rod to Keane’s criticism.
United’s inconsistencies and shaky defensive displays over the past few years have prompted some stinging words from the former midfielder, who does not suffer fools lightly.
Maguire joined United from Leicester City for £80million in the summer of 2019 and his transfer fee was always likely to be used as a stick with which to beat him.
The 28-year-old centre-back has been savaged by Keane’s words on more than one occasion over the past few years.
His performances for club and country have been under the microscope, so here is a comprehensive list of the many times Keane has gone in with both feet.
The most recent tirade came on Friday night at Wembley, as Keane took issue with Maguire’s celebration after scoring the opening goal in England’s 5-0 win over Albania.
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‘An absolute disgrace’
United’s 5-0 thrashing by Liverpool at Old Trafford on October 24 was always likely to be followed by some harsh words and it was Luke Shaw and Maguire who got the worst of it from Keane.
“Shaw and Maguire last week, they were a disgrace, an absolute disgrace to the club and these are established, international footballers,” he said on Sky Sports.
“I remember Maguire talking in the week, he was like a robot. He was like, ‘uhhh ohhh apologies to the fans,’ there was no emotion behind it. And these guys are on the back of a European Championship for England, so they’ve turned up before for big matches.
“Recently, Shaw has fallen back into his own half from a few years ago. I’m fed up with this chat after games, people apologising. Harry Maguire talking about ‘we need to come together as a group’, no. You need to sort your game out.
“If you’re going to be the leader of that group. You need to get the basics right. Do your own job. People keep saying, ‘he might not be fit,’ – mightn’t be fit? He gave away a goal to Leicester last week, it’s nothing to do with fitness! Just a lack of professionalism, not doing his job properly.”
“You roll your sleeves up at Manchester United. When things aren’t going your way that’s when you look at your leaders, your characters – and I don’t see any leaders out there, right through the whole team. It’s a real, real worry for United now.”
Maguire hit back, insisting there are leaders in the United dressing room, but it’s fair to share Keane remained unconvinced.
‘Hang your heads in shame’
United drew 1-1 with Tottenham back in June 2020, but went in at the break 1-0 down after a goal by Steven Bergwijn. The nature of the strike left Keane fuming at the usual suspects and David de Gea.
“I’m shocked at that goal, I’ve watched a lot of football over the years but I’m fuming there,” said Keane.
“I can’t believe Shaw heading the ball up in the air. I’m staggered at Maguire. I’m sick to death of this goalkeeper.
“I would be fighting him at half time, I would be swinging punches. This is an established international goalkeeper.
“You’ve got to impose your personality on the game. Maguire and De Gea, I wouldn’t let them on the bus after the match. Shocking. I’m disgusted with it. Maguire, De Gea you should hang your heads in shame.”
‘I worry about his pace’
Back in September 2019 Keane was asked to assess the early stages of Maguire’s United career before England’s match against Bulgaria. He was not exactly forthcoming with his praise.
“I think he’s done OK,” he said on ITV. “We were talking about how good he is on the ball, but defensively I still think he’s… I still have one or two question marks over him.
“I always worry about his pace on the turn, I remember the first goal against Crystal Palace where he’s not doing the basics – covering round his other centre-half.
“Listen he’s 26 years of age now, you’re worried if you’re pointing these things out to him.”
‘I’d love to play against him’
Maguire’s apparent lack of pace was a particular talking point for Keane at this time – and he wheeled it out again in the same month.
“If I was a striker, I would love to be playing against someone like Harry Maguire,” he said. “He clearly lacks speed and hasn’t got the positional awareness to anticipate the danger, so it’s easy to play against him.”
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