Erik ten Hag’s arrival seemed to be the final straw for Maguire’s time with the Red Devils, as he was reduced to a reserve position behind Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez, the team’s first choice.
Maguire was ranked lower in the hierarchy than Victor Lindelof and Luke Shaw, the temporary center back, as Man United won the EFL Cup, ending their trophy drought and maintaining a league-high 17 clean sheets in the top flight.
All the indications pointed to Maguire moving during the summer transfer window, perhaps to West Ham United, as he had also lost his captaincy to Bruno Fernandes.
Though Maguire always insisted on staying and earning the right to play for Ten Hag—who also re-signed Jonny Evans on a one-year contract after his release from Leicester City—the negotiations between the two parties eventually collapsed.
While Varane has also been out of favor due to his own fitness issues, Martinez has been lost to the Red Devils due to a worsening of his prior foot condition. Maguire started the season on the bench.
Because of this, Maguire has started every Man United game since the beginning of October and has received praise for several strong performances.
He also scored the game-winning goal in the Red Devils’ 1-0 Champions League victory over Copenhagen, which marked their first European victory of the year.
In addition, the 30-year-old has helped Ten Hag’s team maintain consecutive Premier League clean sheets in 1-0 victories over Fulham and Luton Town. In the latter game, he played the whole 90 minutes despite suffering a head injury.
Speaking following the Red Devils’ triumph over Luton over the weekend, Maguire declared that he “really enjoys” playing for the team and that all he needed to do was remain healthy to complete a run of games.
“I didn’t play as many games as I would have liked last year, but I did play a few,” the former Leicester City defender is quoted by BBC Sport as saying.
“I had two or three chances to get a run of games, but I was sick and injured twice, so I never developed a rhythm or a series of games to show the manager that I was capable of doing the job.
I was prepared to stick around and defend my spot because I truly enjoy playing for this club.”
Maguire has remained a mainstay for England manager Gareth Southgate despite his problems to get playing time at the club level, even though he acknowledges that there has been tough competition for spots at Old Trafford.
You make use of your past experiences and recollections. To be ready, I had to put a lot of effort into my training,” Maguire continued.
“I was the subject of a lot of debate because, although I wasn’t playing games, I was representing my nation well, attended the World Cup, and always believed that my form was there.
“However, I didn’t get as many opportunities as I would have liked since I am up against some of the best center backs in the league, and they were playing incredible last year. We have competition for spots in this club, and I am one of them.”
After joining Man United for £80 million in 2019, Maguire has played 186 games and contributed eight goals and six assists. His contract with the team expires in 2025, with the option to extend for one additional year.
In order to guarantee top place in Group C, Southgate’s team will play their final two Euro 2024 qualifiers against Malta (November 17) and North Macedonia (November 20). The England international will now team up with the Three Lions squad.