Arsenal great and Sky Sports broadcaster Paul Merson has acknowledged he felt awful over criticizing Harry Maguire too harshly a few years back.
When Manchester United paid Leicester City large money to sign Maguire in the summer of 2019, the former England international did not hide his surprise, stating he’d be dealing with an entirely different style of play at Old Trafford than what he’d been used to at his former club.
Merson also mentioned how Maguire had primarily played as part of a back three for England, implying that managers only play three at the back when they don’t have two center-backs who are talented enough to play as a pair.
When asked about those remarks now, Merson acknowledges he felt he went too far and called Maguire to apologize and straighten things up.
“I don’t want to be right on that; I’d rather be incorrect,” he told the Telegraph. England should win the World Cup, and Harry Maguire should score the game-winning goal. It was only my opinion.
“I called Brendan Rodgers and asked for Harry Maguire’s phone number.” I didn’t feel at ease with myself. I needed to call him and apologize for saying, ‘I don’t agree with the £80 million, but I shouldn’t have said that, and I’m sorry.’
“I took it a little too far. He couldn’t believe his eyes. Most likely believed it was a prank.
“I don’t think he’s had a fair shot.” He’s having trouble, and he’s playing on the left side when he’s right-footed.”
Maguire has had a terrible time at United, implying that Merson’s diagnosis wasn’t all that bad, but it’s wonderful to see he wasn’t too obstinate to concede that he’d possibly over-done it with his analysis.