AS soon as I walked in the door at Sheffield United I was told how special a player Harry Maguire would become.
I was there for a season in 2013 and played alongside the new Manchester United centre-back. He was 20 and it didn’t take long to see what coaches like David Unsworth and Chris Morgan saw in him.
He was very quiet among senior players and just wanted to learn.
There was never any arrogance and — while other young players don’t want to listen — Maguire was a sponge, soaking all the information in.
He was good on the ball and has the potential to be a star for a long time at Old Trafford.
And while obviously a great defender, his style should another dimension to United’s attack.
To ask questions of opposition midfields you need a centre-back who is comfortable bringing the ball out, like Virgil van Dijk and Aymeric Laporte do for Liverpool and Manchester City.
Sometimes their biggest problem last season was dragging opposition out, but with Maguire striding out with the ball, a midfielder will have to challenge him at some point.
If done properly it will cause a domino effect, opening a gap between midfield and defence for the likes of Paul Pogba to take advantage of.
It quickly becomes a nightmare for a defender as you naturally want to close those gaps. You step up with your midfield, but you leave space in behind for United’s pacy forwards to run into.
Playing on the counter, Maguire will also add a huge amount. If he wins it back, opposition will be stretched and open, and he will be able to drive forward, opening up space.
He should also chip in with a fair few goals from set-pieces, all-in-all adding a brand new dimension to their attack.
Some call him slow and cumbersome, but he doesn’t have an ounce of fat on him, and you rarely see him outpaced.
For too long United have signed what they consider quick fixes. But with the signings Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made, and after watching a lot the pre-season games, it’s clear they have that identity back.
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They look incredibly fit, primed for a high pressing game Ole will demand.
I can’t see them challenging for the title but when I watch the team I support I just want to see a clear identity.
I haven’t seen that for the last few seasons, it is hard to cultivate when chopping and changing managers and players.
But with Maguire sure to add a lot off the field too, United are slowly turning the tide.