Daily Express

Gritty Harry showed me United way

MAGUIRE’S ‘TERRIFYING’ ORDEAL FIRED UP ONANA

- By David McDonnell ●Andre Onana was speaking on The Overlap, brought to you by Sky Bet.

ANDRE ONANA said the way Harry Maguire handled criticism helped him cope with his own difficulti­es at the start of his Manchester United career.

Maguire surrendere­d the captaincy to Bruno Fernandes after losing his place following a run of poor form and criticism from fans and pundits.

The England defender could have left United last summer, but he stayed to fight for his place and won it back again with some impressive displays following the team’s chronic injury crisis.

Cameroon goalkeeper Onana hailed Maguire’s resilience and mental toughness, saying: “I have Harry in the dressing room. When you see what he went through, what Harry faced, it was terrifying.

“He’s a big man, he showed a lot of character – now he’s back and he’s one of the best we have.

“It’s important to look at this kind of example because he passed through a difficult situation.”

Reflecting on his own tough start to life at United, when he committed a series of high-profile blunders, Onana admitted it was a testing time.

“I’m happy because we have good people around us who helped me so much,” said Onana. “That’s why I’m still smiling because the first six months were difficult.

“But at the same time it was a good moment to learn.

“The ups and downs being here, you have to deal with them – especially being a goalkeeper.

“When I wear the United jersey it’s heavy – but for me that’s extra motivation.”

Onana acknowledg­es there is no hiding place for United after their worst campaign in Premier League history.

They finished the season in eighth spot, missing out on the European places, with a goal difference of minus one.

“Manchester United are a big club, we cannot run behind the ball and hide,” said Onana.

“We want to have more possession. Playing back to me, we try to create space.

“I have to be clever, fastthinki­ng and see what the opponent is going to do.

“Sometimes the opponent’s centre-back will jump onto your midfielder or striker.

“If he doesn’t jump that means we have a plus one. I have to recognise that and find the free man.

“Sometimes that’s the problem because you have the ball and you don’t see who’s free. It depends on how they press – if they press with 10 or if they press with the winger, it

depends.”

 ?? ?? BIG HELP: Maguire’s example inspired Onana, centre
BIG HELP: Maguire’s example inspired Onana, centre

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