The legendary Steve Bruce of Manchester United suggested that Harry Maguire would “walk into many Premier League teams” in response to criticism directed at the England defender.
The 30-year-old Maguire made his club debut on Tuesday night in a 3-0 Carabao Cup victory over Crystal Palace.
From the start of the previous season, when Erik ten Hag arrived, he has found himself lower on the hierarchy.
Luke Shaw, Lisandro Martinez, Raphael Varane, and Victor Lindelof have all been preferred above him at center defense.
Maguire turned down a summer transfer to West Ham before drawing criticism for an own goal in England’s 3-1 victory over Scotland during the international break.
However, Bruce, who spent nine years as the focal point of Man Utd’s defense and won three Premier League titles, has questioned the source of the criticism directed towards Maguire.
Speaking on Sky Sports, he said: “It’s good to see him on the pitch as he hasn’t started, he has only really started for England and played very well.
“It’s a really difficult situation for him because this criticism is coming from where?
“I can’t see it really from the stands, not sure where it escalates apart from maybe social media.
“This is a great opportunity and let’s not forget he is a very good player who would probably walk into many Premier League teams.”
He went on to add: “It’s very rare fans here get on top of anybody’s back, they never single out an individual. Very, very rarely have I witnessed it.
“I don’t think [criticism] it generates from stadium, maybe outside stuff and maybe social media is the key to it all. He [Maguire] has never let anybody down, I don’t think he has let Man United down.
“Of course he has made a few mistakes and the odd own goal. He has made mistakes, he is a centre-back but over the years has proved to be a very good player.”
Maguire has played 177 games for Manchester United, and the Carabao Cup from the previous season is the only significant trophy he has won.
Since Ten Hag’s arrival, he has only started eight Premier League games, and his future with the team is still up in the air.