Harry Maguire is booed by Man United fans in a ‘weird pantomime’ during friendly win
Harry Maguire’s difficult relationship with Manchester United supporters took another turn for the worse after the club captain was mercilessly booed by fans during a pre-season win over Crystal Palace.
United’s front three of Anthony Martial, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford made light of the continued absence of Cristiano Ronaldo from this tour to each get on the scoresheet in a resounding 3-1 victory that offered a further illustration of the progress being under new manager Erik ten Hag.
But Maguire’s treatment at the hands of vocal sections of the 76,499 crowd, the majority of which was made up by United fans, took some of the gloss off another encouraging performance that also underlined the manager’s exacting demands.
At one point during the match, a pitchside microphone picked up Ten Hag screaming: “What the f*** are you doing?” after the Dutchman vented his displeasure at a particular passage of play.
Maguire’s name was jeered when the teams were read out before kick-off and the England defender then spent the first 30 minutes of the match listening to his every touch being booed by fans.
Club sources described the scenes as some sort of “weird pantomime” and there was a concentration of supporters near the tunnel area who took it upon themselves to go the other way by showing their support, singing Maguire’s song and cheering the defender. The mood had changed by the time Maguire shot wide after another United attack shortly before half-time.
But he is facing a growing fight for acceptance among fans amid fierce debate about Ten Hag’s decision to retain him as captain for the season ahead. Maguire overcame the boo-boys to produce one of his most assured United displays for months but there are many supporters who do not feel his performances over the past 12 months warrant a regular starting place, let alone the armband, and that his £80 million price tag following a move from Leicester City has afforded him too much protection.
Ten Hag has already indicated that Maguire and new signing Lisandro Martinez – who will be joining imminently from Ajax – will start the season as his first-choice central defensive pairing.