Harry Maguire has been accused of “hiding” by former Premier League defender Ashley Williams, who has not held back after watching Manchester United’s 1-0 defeat to Newcastle.
The 30-year-old England international has recently climbed up the defensive pecking order at Old Trafford, starting 11 consecutive games.
Maguire continues to earn praise for his improved performances of late, with Erik ten Hag hailing his “mentality” and “very important” contribution to the team’s recent success.
But he couldn’t prevent United from losing ground in their race for a top four spot on Saturday, as a second-half goal from Anthony Gordon handed Eddie Howe’s side a deserved win.
A number of players have since been criticised for their outing at St James’ Park, including Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Scott McTominay.
And now, former Swansea and Everton defender Ashley Williams has ripped into Harry Maguire for failing to demand the ball enough from goalkeeper Andre Onana.
In fact, Williams says he noticed Maguire’s “sneaky” behaviour, when he continually signalled for Onana to distribute the ball to Aaron Wan-Bissaka instead of himself.
Speaking on theVibe with Fivepodcast, he said: “Do you know how many times he put himself in a position where he knew ‘I know that he knows that I can’t get this ball of Onana, so I’m leaving him.
“I can’t deal with this sneaky, kind of ‘ah I’m going to look like’ – so how many times did you go inside and point to [Aaron] Wan-Bissaka? Like as if ‘Onana give it to Wan-Bissaka and I’ll get it on the next one’.”
Williams added: “He’s hiding. There are so many accounts of it. That’s why my melon was going when I was watching it, because everyone’s had their say about him, he’s turned the corner – no you haven’t.
“They’re saying he defended well fair enough but what about when your playing Newcastle and they press high, you’ve got no target man so you can’t bypass the press, you have got to have at least the bottom six getting on the ball trying to help.”
🗣️🎙️ Ashley Williams on Maguire: “He put himself in a position where he knew, I know that he knows I cannot get this ball off Onana” 🔴
— FIVE (@FIVEUK) December 4, 2023
Maguire, meanwhile, was quick to defend Marcus Rashford after his below-par performance against the Magpies
“Marcus had an unbelievable season last season, scored numerous goals for us,” Maguire told TNT Sports.
“This season, it hasn’t clicked for him, but he’s working hard, he’s putting everything into it in training. Everyone in that dressing room knows what Marcus is and what he’s about, and he’ll get back to his best I’m sure.”