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"Harry Maguire is the best ball-playing centre-half in football" - Kenny Cunningham

Ciaran Bradley
Ciaran Bradley

09:00 12 Aug 2019


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Former Republic of Ireland defender believes that Harry Maguire is the best ball-playing centre-back in football at the moment.

Speaking to Off The Ball this evening, Cunningham says that it is Maguire's composure on the ball that sets him apart.

"He didn't put a foot wrong," said Cunningham of Maguire's debut performance for Manchester United against Chelsea.

"He didn't show me anything I didn't think that he already had. United knew what they were buying.

"They knew that they were buying not just a very good ball-playing centre-half, but probably the best ball-playing centre-half in football at the moment.

"He is the type of player who not only can travel into midfield and make a pass when the pressure comes, but can go beyond people.

"He did not do that all that much this weekend, he was happy enough just to pop the ball into midfield, just step up ten to fifteen yards, commit an opposition midfielder and then work it to another player.

"But even that is a big plus for Manchester United, because over the last couple of years, United have probably been the worst at playing out from the back because they haven't had the centre-backs that are comfortable receiving the ball under any type of pressure."

Cunningham believes that this change in dynamic frees up midfielders such as Paul Pogba.

"When I say that I was very impressed with Manchester United in terms of their attacking style, that is not to say that I think they are a one-trick pony.

"With Harry Maguire coming into the team, he has given them another option in terms of being able to play out - now Pogba is looking back and knowing that he doesn't have to go out and get the ball from the centre-halves."

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