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‘It’s been tough’ – Match-winner Harry Maguire opens up on difficult period with Manchester United

Manchester United defender Harry Maguire admits that it was tough for him not to play as much as he wished over the last year.

Maguire scored a crucial match-winning goal for Man United as they defeated FC Copenhagen by 1-0.

Talking to MUTV after the game, he discussed how he felt after not playing regularly in the last 12 months.

He said: “I’m just really happy to help the team win football matches.

“I’ve been professional over the last year or so – it’s been tough for me, not playing as much as I’ve done throughout my career, so it’s been different.

“But that’s football and playing for a big club – you have big competition. We have a lot of competition at centre-back, with some top, top quality players. 

“I do believe that, so it’s a really important part of the season for me.

“But it’s only the start and I’m ready now to kick on, help the team and I’m looking forward to Sunday.”

Maguire has shown great professionalism

The England international lost his starting spot under Erik ten Hag after a horrific start to the campaign last year.

He struggled for fitness and form, which pushed him down the pecking order behind Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez and Victor Lindelof.

Ten Hag chose Luke Shaw ahead of Maguire for a few games last season for the centre-back spot.

The 30-year-old was close to moving to West Ham United in the summer, but the transfer did not go through.

Maguire remained professional and said nothing negative about the club or the manager. 

He delivered a composed performance against Sheffield United last weekend. He was defensively sound and distributed the ball with aplomb.

Unlike earlier, he took the risk to play vertical passes to push his team to attack.

He did not start well against Copenhagen tonight but grew into the game.

Maguire showed intent by winning aerial duels and dominating the strikers.

Tonight’s match-winning strike will boost his confidence and is a positive sign for Man United.