Manchester United captain Harry Maguire has said he chose to join the club over Manchester City in the summer of 2019 because he had a much stronger connection to United from the years he spent watching them growing up, as well as the confidence the club instilled in him.
Having played in the Premier League for both Hull and Leicester, Maguire rose to prominence with his star performances for England at the 2018 World Cup, which saw the Three Lions reach the semi-finals for the first time since 1990 and ultimately finish fourth.
United first took interest in the centre-back in 2018 and Maguire actually spoke to then-manager Jose Mourinho prior to the World Cup semi-final against Croatia. But it was a year later, by which time Mourinho had been replaced by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, when United were ready to make a serious approach. However, City were also in the market for a centre-back.
“They were both interested,” Maguire told Gary Neville on The Overlap.
“I spoke to Manchester City and I spoke to Manchester United. No disrespect to Manchester City, but I grew up watching Manchester United teams, Old Trafford, being one of the biggest clubs in the world, if not the biggest. So I always had my heart set on this club.”
Maguire spoke kindly about his contact with City boss Pep Guardiola but says that in addition to his own feelings about United, the club’s long-term pursuit and interest was an important factor.
“I spoke to Pep and obviously the football that they play and what he’s done for the club, great respect for Pep and the game and evolution of what he’s brought to football,” Maguire said.
“But it was Manchester United, my heart was set from the amount of interest that they had shown in me, giving me great confidence and belief. For them to pursue it over a 12-15 month period just shows how much they believed in me and how much they felt I would be a big part of the team.”