Harry Maguire was interviewed by Gary Neville by The Overlap for Sky Sports about his career to date, his time with England and what it means to him to be Manchester United captain.
It came really quick. Ashley Young was there at the time and although he was only there for a few months, I learned a lot from the way he handled himself around the place and the demands he put on other players in training. He was really competitive, and he demanded the training to be hard, competitive, and I learned a lot from him. Then he obviously gets his move and he goes to Inter Milan and the gaffer pulled me and just said he sees me as the one that can take it forward.
It’s such a proud moment for myself to be named Manchester United captain. It’s a huge honour, lots of improvement to be made myself, on the pitch and off the pitch, and as a team as well. That’s probably the biggest thing now, I feel it’s more about us as a team than my individual self because if I’m playing well then, I’m helping the team and the main focus is winning trophies.
I think we are improving. From last season to this season we are definitely improving. We’ve actually been on a good run ourselves and I think the run Manchester City have been on has just been incredible. You have got to give them credit. They broke away with something like 20-odd games on the bounce.
We dropped some silly points in silly games. We know we can do better in some games and be a bit more ruthless in others, and really have great belief in the bigger games that we can go and win that game.
But the main thing is improvement. We’ve got to be winning Premier League titles. Second isn’t good enough, and I’m sure the lads all agree on that.
When Maguire left Leicester for United in the summer of 2019, both United and rivals Manchester City were interested, but the defender said his heart was set on playing at Old Trafford.
They were both interested. I spoke to both Man City and Man United, but I must say, and no disrespect to Man City, but I grew up watching a lot more of Manchester United football at Old Trafford, being at one of the biggest clubs in the world, if not the biggest, so I always had my heart set on this club.
I spoke to Pep and the football that they play and what he’s done for the club, I have great respect for Pep and the evolution he has brought to football, but it was Man United.
My heart was set from the amount of interest they showed in me. It gave me great confidence and belief and for them to pursue it for a 12 to 15 month period of time showed how much they believed in me and how much they felt like I would be a big part of the team.
Jose Mourinho had shown interest the summer before but Maguire had a conversation with former Leicester owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and believed he owed the club another season.
With my age, I felt like I owed Leicester a lot. I spoke to Vichai and he said they’d had a lot of interest from Manchester United when Jose was the manager and he said ‘give me one more year, and I’ll let you go’.
So I didn’t really push anything and as soon as I heard about the interest from United, it was something that I knew I had my heart set on and I knew I wanted to play for that club. But I think the age that I was, maybe 25 years old, I always knew that I had time on my hand and Vichai stuck to his word.
On Neville’s show, he gives a gift to every person he interviews, so for Maguire he called in a favour with former manager Sir Alex Ferguson. Fergie wrote two sides of A4 for the defender but he said he would read it at home and treasure it.
Maguire has been included in the preliminary squad for the Europa League final on Wednesday night but is still unlikely to be available for the game.
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