Harry Maguire spoke of his season of misery and insisted he return, starting in the upcoming England League of Nations program, which begins on Saturday.
The Manchester United captain has been ridiculed by fans of his own team at club and international level as his form has fallen. But the 29-year-old defender explained that the bomb threat to his family home on the 20th of April it was past the pale. “It’s a line,” said Maguire.
“We are human beings. I do have a family. People ask if it affects me. My mind is that it doesn’t affect me too much, but when it comes to bomb threats, it’s more about family.
“I’m glad my kids are at an age where they don’t read or see things in the news. If my kids were older, they could see things and go to school and people talk about it. That’s when it affects you a little more.
“I am in a position where I will be criticized. Manchester United paid a large sum of money for me. It is one of the most popular clubs in the world and also one of the most hated in the world.
“We know we’re under the most scrutiny. I fully accept criticism when we concede goals or make mistakes. I’m old enough to accept people on board and say I can get better.”
The bomb threat came the next day United’s 4-0 defeat at Liverpool and led to Cheshire police returning to arrange a precautionary sweep of the property.
The previous month, Maguire’s late replacement in the United Champions League comes out against Atletico Madrid was delighted by a section of the Old Trafford support and in his next game – for England against Ivory Coast in March – he was whistled by some fans at Wembley.
“I had a wonderful time with the [England] fans and I will not leave the minority – I do not know how many it was, 10-20 people doing that in the Ivory Coast game – affects my relationship with them, “said Maguire.” I was a little shocked. I wouldn’t say I was hurt and upset. I know my family and friends may have been affected by it but I was more surprised. “
Gareth Southgate, the England manager who has always supported Maguire, called the abusers an “absolute joke”, saying other players might wonder if they would be coming for such a deal and questioning whether they should continue to join. In the bad old days of England, some players were reluctant to report for international duty.
Maguire said: “There were a lot of young guys on the team that day, a lot of youngsters in the stands, a lot of kids watching who aspire to grow up and be an England footballer, so that they hear that for someone who is. Was involved in so much of the trip over the last five years, it is unfortunate to see.
“It simply came to our notice then [the young England players]. That’s why it was a little disappointing. We talked about it as a group. But I am sure there will be many good times ahead when the English fans show their support and love again.
“I’m my biggest critic. Although there are a lot of critics out there, I’m actually still my biggest! The next biggest one is probably my father.
“If that had happened earlier in my career, I would have fought that night. But I am 29 years old, I have experienced many ups and downs and I have learned to deal with it through experience. I’m sure I’ll be back to playing my best football very soon. ”
Maguire, who said he still had to talk to new United manager Erik ten Hag, did not make his fists during the club’s dismal season.
“You could see in the end, the confidence wasn’t there,” he said. “We can watch individual performances but every player didn’t perform at a level … except Cristiano [Ronaldo] with their goals.
“But if you look at individual performances, it’s hard when you’re playing on a team when collectively we haven’t been good enough.
“Football is my life. I take care of it every day at the club. For it to end as it has – sixth in the league, beaten out of the cups in games we have to win … it was disappointing from start to finish. “
England prepare for the League of Nations leagues against Hungary (Saturday) and Germany away (next Tuesday), then Italy (June 11) and Hungary at home (June 14), in their penultimate meeting before the World Cup finals start in Qatar on November 21st.
It was put to Maguire that, given his form, it was a good thing for him that the final was not about to begin in his usual June slot.
“That’s right,” he replied. “After the season we had, all the Manchester United players … I mean, it’s just me here in the squad now. Are we among the favorites for the World Cup? Definitely and rightly so.
“In the semi-final against Croatia in Russia [in 2018]we had the talent to win that game but we didn’t have the mindset or belief.
“The important thing now is that we have a lot of players who play in big European games for their clubs week after week, fighting for the biggest trophies. That experience is crucial in tournaments.
“We were shooting away from winning the biggest pressure in football – the euros at Wembley [last summer]. If we can handle that, I’m sure we can handle the pressure of the World Cup. “