What West Ham star has said about Man Utd’s Harry Maguire in passionate transfer message
West Ham star Michail Antonio believes West Ham players could have better protected Harry Maguire from being ‘destroyed’ by criticism.
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West Ham United star Michail Antonio has issued a passionate defence of Manchester United defender Harry Maguire and expressed his disappointment that the centre-back didn't complete a move to the Hammers this summer.
Maguire has come under heavy and high-profile criticism over the past season for his performances, with another bout of mocking prompted by an own goal during England's international friendly against Scotland this week.
Three Lions manager Gareth Southgate has spoken out against the 'ridiculous' treatment of the 30-year-old while Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag branded criticism as 'disrespectful'. Maguire's mother Zoe also slammed the treatment of her son in an emotional statement saying that hate sent towards the star was 'unacceptable to any walk of life, never mind someone who works his socks off for club and country'.
Now, West Ham striker Antonio has once again sent out a message of solidarity to Maguire. The London club had agreed a £30 million deal with Manchester United to sign the player this summer but Maguire opted to stay and fight for his place at Old Trafford.
Speaking on The Footballers' Football Podcast, Antonio lamented that decision and said that Hammers players would have been able to support the star in a way Red Devils teammates have not done.
The striker explained: "I would've wanted a clean slate for myself. Start again, try and rebuild myself. The people mostly on his back are his own fans.
"If he came to West Ham, everyone knows about him and what he's going through. We would've tried to build him up and help him with the fresh start. If the fans said something, the boys would help out. No one has actually spoken up for him!"
Antonio also shared that he believed criticism had reduced Maguire to becoming 'half of a man' and added that he had never seen an outpour of criticis heaped on a single player quite like it.
The Hammers talisman said: "I've said this before, it's gone way, way, way too far. It's embarrassing. I've never seen this ever in football. One person can be destroyed. Any time he does anything wrong, it could not be his fault but he could be involved with it and it's his fault.
"People definitely forget that people are human and it's going to affect them mentally. He went from being an unbelievable centre-half, one of the best in the Premier League, to half of a man. That's how I would describe it."