Rock-solid, English, consistent centre-backs, Manchester United have had their fair few down the years.
The most recent being last summer’s big signing and now club captain, Harry Maguire. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer invested heavily in the defender last year to help sure up the Red Devil’s leaky backline, with the Englishman doing exactly that.
United registered six more Premier League clean sheets this season compared to last, with Maguire not missing a single second of the action. In doing so, he became the first outfield player for the club since Garry Pallister to reach this landmark.
On the back of a productive debut campaign, the latter has been singing Maguire’s praises. Speaking to MUTV, he said: “I think he’s terrific. I think he’s rightly got the captaincy; he’s one of the talkers. “He’s not the type of leader that Bryan Robson, Steve Bruce and Roy Keane were, but I think he’s got an assurance about him that the players respond to.
“I think, for his first season, he’s been terrific. He’s comfortable on the ball, you saw it on Sunday, getting his head to things when the balls are chucked into the box. He’s dominant there and he’s exactly the type of centre-back that Manchester United needed.”
Pallister hits the nail on the head with regards to what ‘United needed’, as the side had been crying out for a consistent figure at the back for the past few seasons. Maguire’s high fitness levels has been a bonus in itself, giving Solskjaer a solid defensive foundation to work on, by having a reliable option week-in-week-out.
In terms of quality, he has certainly been an upgrade on the likes of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo, as the defensive stats show for this season. The improvement at the back was a key factor behind the club’s Champions League qualification and Maguire will continue to serve as a prominent defender in Solskjaer’s team, for years to come.