Steve Bruce has revealed he ‘nearly rang Harry Maguire in the summer’ in a bid to show support to his former player after the Manchester United centre-back has endured a turbulent few seasons amid ongoing abuse.
The former Hull City manager, who coached the defender for a period during his spell at the Tigers between 2014 and 2017, also admitted that he thought the stick being directed towards Maguire had crossed the line.
The 30-year-old, who arrived at Old Trafford in 2019 in a landmark £80million transfer from Leicester, has been heavily scrutinized by fans and pundits and with Maguire selflessly revealing that the criticism he cops from fans relieves the pressure on his team-mates.
Maguire has fallen down in Erik ten Hag’s pecking order at the club behind Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez and was notably stripped of the United captaincy earlier this summer, with rumours circulating that he was close to joining West Ham in the summer.
But Bruce, who took over the United arm band from Bryan Robson left in 1994, slammed the ‘ridicule’ Maguire has been receiving from fans revealing that he nearly reached out to the England defender earlier this summer.
Steve Bruce has revealed he ‘nearly rang Harry Maguire (pictured) in the summer’ in a bid to show support to his former player
Bruce (pictured) added that he felt criticism of the defender had crossed the line saying: ‘abuse of Harry Maguire has gotten to a level that I don’t think any of us have ever seen before’
The centre-back has fallen down in Erik ten Hag’s (pictured) pecking order, after having made just one appearance so far this season
‘I think the abuse of Harry Maguire has gotten to a level that I don’t think any of us have ever seen before,’ Bruce said during an interview on Up Front with Simon Jordan.
‘He’s always the subject of frustration from Manchester United supporters maybe if he makes a mistake or whatever.
‘I wonder sometimes whether it is all Man United fans? Or is it England supporters? Because I cannot remember a time when he’s ever let England down – in fact, I always think he’s particularly well.
‘I thought the other night in the first game against Ukraine, I thought he did very well.’
The former Hull City defender has struggled for game time in the past two seasons, notably playing a lowly 23 minutes for United so far this season, while having only started eight times in the Premier League for the Red Devils last season, making 16 appearances despite having been available named in the squad on 31 occasions.
Many have come out to show their support for Maguire amid the ongoing criticism he has received, with his mother recently hitting back at ‘abusive comments’ her son had received calling those who have aimed criticism at him ‘disgraceful’.
David Beckham reportedly ‘sent Maguire a text telling him to keep his head up’ amid backlash after his own goal against Scotland.
Southgate also called the scapegoating of Maguire as ‘cowardly’, with Bruce also admitting that he did not like the condemnation that the defender has received.
Speaking on the criticism, Bruce added: ‘The actual stuff that he’s getting – It borders on ridicule, and I don’t like that.’
‘I nearly rang him in the summer because I know him from my time managing him at Hull City.
Maguire (middle) has copped some abuse from fans and pundits with some, including Gareth Southgate, coming to his defence
Raphael Varane (first from left) and Lisandro Martinez (second from left) have both risen above him to be Ten Hag’s first choice centre-back pairing
Bruce (pictured), meanwhile added that he thinks Maguire ‘should have moved on to find his career again’
Jordan concurred, saying: ‘I didn’t think he was an £80million pound centre-half, I think he’s a decent player. But I don’t think there is any reason for the abuse that he’s getting. I think it’s unfair and it’s unjust.’
Maguire had been on the cusp of a £30million move to West Ham which ultimately fell through. But Bruce, 62, admitted that working under David Moyes could have been a good move for the defender.
‘I personally think that I would have moved on. I think that once the manager has shown his cards to you [that you won’t be playing] then you need to move on.
‘He needs to go and find his career again, boost it again and feel respected in the audience you’re at. I thought with David Moyes [at West Ham] it would have been a really, really good fit.’