Manchester United captain Harry Maguire remembers the Sheffield United manager's criticism that spurred him on

As the captain of Manchester United, a senior England international and the world’s most expensive defender, Harry Maguire has certainly come a long way from his early days a youngster in Sheffield United’s fabled youth academy.

By Danny Hall
Wednesday, 26th May 2021, 2:09 pm

The Sheffielder is expected to miss his side’s Europa League final against Villareal tonight, after sitting out the final training session before the game.

But compared to some of the obstacles he has overcome in his career so far, that seems relatively small fry and on The Overlap, in conversation with Gary Neville, Maguire revealed the doubt that a former Blades boss had about whether he would make a career in the game.

"I can remember one of my first training sessions with the first team at Sheffield United " Maguire, who came through the United academy, said.

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“I don’t want to name the manager but I thought I had trained really, really well.

“The reserve team manager at the time was Mark Smith, who was brilliant with me and was telling me how well I had done in the session.

“Then the first-team manager came up to me and told me I wasn’t good enough there. ‘If you don’t quicken your feet, you’ll never play first-team football’.

Manchester United's Harry Maguire is set to miss the Europa League final against Villarreal. Carl Recine/PA Wire.

“I was 16 or 17 at the time and it was a knock back. I didn’t tell anyone about it, even my dad. I just got on with it and did extra work on my footwork.

“It probably pushed me to be where I am today.”

The manager in question was not Danny Wilson, who gave Maguire his real chance in the first team following United’s relegation to League One and who the Manchester United man now credits as a big influence on his career.

Sheffield United's Harry Maguire in action against Rochdale

“I can remember games when I was 18 and 19 and making mistakes,” Maguire added.

“To be fair, this is where I give great credit to the manager, Danny Wilson.

“A lot of managers would have said: ‘Have a little rest this week’. But every game he just played me and played me, and it’s a big part of where I am now.”