Harry Maguire reveals how he reclaimed Manchester United place: ‘I had to be patient’

Harry Maguire believes he is getting his reward for rejecting a move away from Manchester United after regaining his place in the team.

The £80m centre-back lost his spot in the side last season, was stripped of the captaincy by manager Erik ten Hag in the summer and United then accepted a £30m bid from West Ham.

But Maguire opted to stay at Old Trafford and has become Ten Hag’s first-choice central defender. After Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez were the preferred pairing last season, the England international is now keeping the World Cup winner on the bench.

The 30-year-old did not start any of United’s first seven games of the season but has now begun each of the last eight and Maguire feels he was right not to quit Old Trafford and to adopt a patient approach in difficult times.

He said: “I am really enjoying my football and I really enjoy playing for this club. I was willing to stay and fight for my place and we have four or five top international centre-backs at this club and the competition for places is really high.”

Maguire was dropped by Ten Hag in August 2022 after a 4-0 defeat to Brentford and had a stop-start season after that but believed his own performances were fine.

“I just didn’t play as many [games] as I would have liked,” he said. “On the other hand, Rapha and Licha [Martinez] were playing brilliantly and kept numerous clean sheets. I had to bide my time and be patient. I had two or three opportunities last season to get a run of games but I broke down with illness, I broke down with injuries twice, so I never got the rhythm and never got the run of games that I could prove myself to the manager. I have got that now.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

“But I started 16 or 17 games last year and felt like my form was there. There was a lot of talk about me because I wasn’t playing games, but that is the way it is. I was playing well for my country, went to the World Cup and played well and always thought my form was there.

“But I am up against some top, top-level centre-backs and last year they were playing amazing, so I didn’t get as many opportunities as I would have liked. This club demands competition for places and that is what we have in my position.”