Former Italy captain Giorgio Chiellini has leapt to the defence of Manchester United defender Harry Maguire, insisting the Reds expect “too much” from him.
Maguire, who will be looking to help England gain revenge over Italy when the two sides meet in the Nations League at the San Siro on Friday night, is currently experiencing one of the most difficult chapters of his career so far. He has lost his place in United manager Erik ten Hag’s strongest line-up, leaving his Old Trafford future in doubt.
He has not started any of United’s last four outings in the Premier League and has started just one of the last six matches in all competitions, being handed a return to the starting line-up for the 1-0 defeat to Real Sociedad in the Europa League a fortnight ago. He did start the season with the captain’s armband and in the heart of the defence but was dropped following the 4-0 defeat to Brentford.
Fortunately for Maguire, it has not hindered his England chances, being included in Gareth Southgate’s latest squad ahead of the World Cup getting started in just two months’ time. However, his United career is at a difficult juncture, such are the troubles he has faced over the past year or so.
“I am sad for Maguire’s situation because he is a good player,” Chiellini told The Times. “They [Manchester United] require too much of him.
“Just because they paid £80million for him, he has to be the best in the world every match? It’s not right. The value of the market is dependent on many aspects you can’t control. It’s not your fault.
“Him and [John] Stones are a good duo. OK, Maguire maybe is not Rio Ferdinand but he’s good enough. With this situation, it’s not helping [England] to do the best.
“If you want to win the World Cup it’s impossible to do it with some problems in the key players, and for sure Maguire is one of the key players of the team.”