Harry Maguire: Four major ways he's improving at Manchester United

Harry Maguire Manchester United

On a personal level, it's not been an easy start to the season for Harry Maguire. 

After a court case in Greece following a summer holiday in Mykonos, his start to the season became a major talking point even for those outside of Manchester United. 

An £80m player and the holder of the world's most expensive defender moniker, the 27-year-old was always likely to see his profile raised after his move to Old Trafford and, sadly, scrutiny does come with that territory. 

Still, not all of the criticism has been fair. 

Thrust into a United side without a defensive midfielder of note when playing in a 4-3-3, the former Leicester City man has been expected to marshal a defence in which it seems any mistake instantly becomes his problem.

Of course, he is not without fault and perhaps he will never be the Virgil van Dijk figure United clearly needed in the summer of 2019 but, rather than add to the swathes of criticism levelled at him this season, the ways in which he is improving should be noted too. 

And how is he improving?

Maguire improve

Defending

Well, the graphic above shows us Maguire is at least attempting to be more of a front-foot defender in that he's improved upon his interceptions and loose ball duels per 90 minutes. 

That may actually be part of the reason his lack of pace has been exploited at times during the campaign so far. It stands to reason that if you're more proactive, there's a bigger risk in being caught out. 

Fixing that is United's problem. Surely upon buying him for a world record fee, the club knew he wasn't blessed with pace and though he could improve his positional game, there isn't much he can do about that.

Buying a No.6 next summer would, in theory, help manage the turnovers in possession and keep Maguire somewhat protected.

Add a more mobile defender alongside him with recovery pace and Maguire's increasing ability to step forward and cut things out could start to have a marked improvement on United's overall defending. 

Passing

One of the major reasons as to why Maguire was such a hot property for the Manchester clubs in the summer of 2019 was his impressive ball-playing ability.

During his final season at Leicester, he completed the most forward passes of any Foxes regular and it's a trait of his to have been praised by the likes of Rio Ferdinand

Maguire passing

After his signing, his prowess in possession was praised by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, so it's clearly something United valued when it came to parting with such a big fee for him. So, noting his improvement in some key passing areas feels relevant. 

With that in mind, the fact he is making more passes into the final third per game suggests he's doing exactly what he was brought in to do when it comes to being on the ball.

In what was been a difficult campaign for him, Maguire is improving in four key ways. If the club can support him by fixing problems in the rest of the team, there's still a chance his move could be viewed as a real success. 

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