Harry Maguire reveals sweet news from Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag with a resurrected ace hitting the World Cup with England

HARRY MAGUIRE has received some lucky texts from Manchester United’s management team – including Erik ten Hag – during this World Cup.

Ironic, actually, considering Maguire’s problems at Old Trafford have multiplied tenfold since Ten Hag took over.

Harry Maguire is in his best form for England at the World Cup

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Harry Maguire is in his best form for England at the World CupCredit: Richard Pelham / The Sun
Erik ten Hag enjoys what he sees from his centre-back

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Erik ten Hag enjoys what he sees from his centre-backPhoto credit: Getty

Despite only THREE Premier League starts this season and major concerns over his lack of playing time in the tournament, the defender has been one of Gareth Southgate’s best players.

During those first four games for the Three Lions, he threw up some cojones to shake off the worst spell of his career and hit the ground running as England aim for the stars.

Maguire, preparing for Saturday’s quarter-final against France, said: “I’m 29 years old, captain of Man Utd and have played 52 games for my country. So when I look back on my career, I put everything into perspective.

“I’m living the dream. I’m doing everything I’ve always wanted to do. So for the next stage of my career I want to start winning trophies.

“The last year was difficult and I didn’t play as well as I have in the last five years at the highest level.

“But during a career, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are probably the only ones who haven’t had a rock bottom.

“It’s a 15-year career if you’re lucky. There’s no way, especially with all the scrutiny that’s being put on defenses these days, that you won’t have dips.

“As a player you want to play. I’m used to playing throughout my career.

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“This is the first year that I’ve actually been benched in some games.
“Of course I also picked up an injury, a hamstring injury that kept me out for four weeks. But I will fight to get my place back at United.”

For Maguire, however, it wasn’t about silencing his critics, just standing up for his country.

He added: “I don’t think I’ve proved a point here.

“I was on the tournament’s Euro team so I know what I’m capable of.

“I wasn’t hiding last year. It was difficult, but I always knew and had great faith in myself that I would find my form and regain my confidence and focus.

“I’m really glad it happened at the biggest tournament.

“Now I feel in a good place. I feel good mentally, I feel good physically. I feel fresh and I’m just looking forward to an important game on Saturday.”

Maguire has shown his mental toughness in the werewolf-deception based card games played by the Three Lions stars in Qatar.

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And he added: “To be honest, I’m pretty good at psychology. I had to be over the last year or something!”

Because Maguire was forced to deal with some pretty nasty criticism.

Many people – including former players – claimed he shouldn’t even have been allowed on the England plane, let alone on the starting line-up.

He added: “I listen to the people around me, like my family and friends. My teammates, the staff here.

“I know how valued they see me and I feel it in camp and in the squad.

“It gives me great faith and confidence. I go back to my past memories and performances in tournaments.

“When a squad is finalized for England or a team is chosen, there are always players who ‘shouldn’t play’.

“That’s why Gareth has such a tough job, because there’s a lot of talent that could play. It’s about my faith and listening to those around me.”

A quarter-final against France – the world champions, some favourites… those are the games we play for

Harry Maguire

Revealing his lyrics from Manchester, Maguire said: “While I’m away they want me to be fully focused on England.

“But I got some nice messages from them saying how well I played and congratulations on reaching the quarterfinals. It’s nice.

“I’m sure they will see the games, but Erik will support the Oranje Army. It’s good to feel their support.”

The centre-back has excelled out here for England.

And although he was caught scoring Iran’s first goal, he was immediately substituted because he felt unwell.

Both he and John Stones were guilty of a few bad passes against Senegal, but their side’s attacking prowess ripped them apart.

France’s 23-year-old superstar Kylian Mbappe will clearly be another prospect.

Maguire, who will burst with pride when the national anthem begins on Saturday, said: “Mbappe is a wonderful player.

Maguire was one of the outstanding players in Qatar

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Maguire was one of the outstanding players in QatarCredit: Richard Pelham / The Sun
France has an embarrassment of wealth under attack

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France has an embarrassment of wealth under attackPhoto credit: Reuters

“He had a fantastic tournament, he’s one of the best in the world. But we would be naïve to focus on just one player.

“He’s a big player for the team but they also have so many different talents.

“I think Olivier Giroud is the top scorer, Ousmane Dembele is playing really well on the other wing.

“They also have Antoine Griezmann, so there are so many different players that they can bring in and influence the game.

“But we come to these big tournaments and our defensive record is always good. It’s been three clean sheets so far, so we have to believe in what we’ve done as a defense so far.

“It’s a huge game. I’m super proud every time I sing this anthem.

“This is one of the proudest moments of my life. You just can’t really explain the feeling.

“You are focused, nervous and excited. You’ve got butterflies, but I’m sure I’ll be ready to go.

“A quarter-final against France – the world champions. Some people say the favorites win the competition.

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“But these are the games we play for. These are the games you’ll want to be a part of when you grow up.

“It’s huge pressure games but that’s the pressure you want. We have to deliver here.”

https://www.the-sun.com/sport/6866618/maguire-texts-man-utd-ten-hag-world-cup/ Harry Maguire reveals sweet news from Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag with a resurrected ace hitting the World Cup with England

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