Harry Maguire has admitted that the 2021/22 season was one of the toughest of his career, having faced abuse from both Manchester United and England fans as well as a terrifying bomb threat at his family home.
The centre-back is no stranger to criticism but insisted that a 'line' had been crossed when disgruntled supporters chose to terrify his family back in April by claiming to have planted a bomb somewhere around their home.
"I’m in a position where I’m going to be criticised," Maguire said. "Manchester United paid a large sum of money for me, it is one of the most loved clubs in the world and also one of the most hated.
"We know we are under the most scrutiny. I totally accept criticism when we concede goals or make mistakes, I’m big enough to accept people getting on my back and saying I can improve.
"My mentality is that it doesn’t affect me too much but when it comes to bomb threats, it is more about family. There is a line. We are human beings. I have a family. My fiancée Fern, I’m just happy my kids are at an age where they don’t read things and see things on the news. If my kids were an older age, they could see things and go to school and people are speaking about it, that is when it affects you a little bit more."
Maguire went on to hit back at claims that he does not care enough about his performances with United.
"Football’s my life," he stressed. "I care about every day at the club, I care about the club so much, I care about winning matches and taking the club to where it should be, where the fans deserve it to be. For it to end the way it has, sixth in the league, got knocked out of the cups to games we should be winning, it was disappointing from the start to the end.
"We were nowhere near good enough throughout the season. We were conceding too many goals, not scoring enough goals, and it just spiralled. You could see towards the end of the season, the confidence wasn’t there, and the belief in the group. Every player at the club has not performed to a level that’s... apart from Cristiano [Ronaldo] with his goals."
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In fact, Maguire insisted that nobody criticises his performances more than himself.
He continued: "Although there are a lot of critics out there I’m actually still my biggest critic. The next biggest is probably my dad. I analyse everything I do, I analyse the way I can improve even though I’m 29 and have played 40-odd games for England, lots of Premier League games on top of that as well, but every day I’m trying to improve.
"This season has been a challenging part of my career but during a career of 10 or 15 years, if you want to play at the top, you’re going to have ups and downs, you’re going to have critics, concede goals, make mistakes and go through spells of being under pressure to deliver performances. This is that season for me. I’m sure I’ll be back to playing my best football very soon. We have a new manager [Erik ten Hag] in, one that we are really looking forward to working with.
"I’m sure the first day of pre-season everybody will be buzzing around, doing their best to impress and everyone coming back in shape because we have a big season ahead of us. We know we are going to improve. The new manager will bring in a lot of positive energy the lads will go with."
Source : 90min