Maguire dedicates goal to a special supporter
Manchester United club captain Harry Maguire has dedicated his goal against Leeds United to River Rhodes, the young football supporter who has touched the squad with his bravery.
Our players first met River at the Burnley match and, last Thursday night, the seven-year-old enjoyed another personal meet-and-greet with Harry, who was delighted to present him with a box of gifts and enjoyed a one-on-one kickabout.
Ahead of our match with Leeds, which River watched at Hotel Football, he wished Maguire good luck via Twitter and wrote this message: “Score a header for me mate, don't forget the knee slide!”
Amazingly, our no.5 then broke the deadlock at Elland Road with a towering header from Luke Shaw’s corner and he quickly ran towards the corner flag to execute a textbook knee slide across the turf.
Maguire has confirmed his celebration was for River and his tribute caught the attention of former Reds captain Wayne Rooney, who wrote: “Class!”
Maguire's goal on Sunday was our first from a corner all season and much had been made of that statistic in recent weeks. Harry admits the team has not been good enough in that area and everybody is determined to put it right.
“It’s been frustrating for me, especially,” the captain explained to us at Elland Road. “I see the stat and I feel embarrassed, to be honest. Set-plays are a huge part of the game, especially in tight, big games. The first goal is crucial.
“We haven’t played well enough this season, but if we’d have improved our set-plays, we’d be sat higher in the table. It’s a big part of the game.”
United earned a two-goal lead thanks to efforts from Maguire and Bruno Fernandes, but Leeds restored parity early in the second half with a couple of rapid-fire ripostes.
The Reds stuck together, however, to earned a deserved victory via further goals from Fred and Anthony Elanga.
“I think that’s the most pleasing aspect of the game,” Maguire said. “Their first goal is really lucky and it gets them right back in the game. Then they scored a good goal and we have to fight back and we had to stick together.
“I’m really proud of the lads and pleased with the way we stuck together, regrouped. We knew we had the qualities to hurt them and we had to calm that storm, get together and we knew we had 30 minutes to win the game and we’ve done that.”
Storm Eunice had been wreaking havoc across the country for several days now and it had a clear impact on Sunday's match, but United rose to the challenge.
“The conditions in the second half was really bad, to be honest,” Maguire told Sky Sports.
“The half that we were playing in and defending was really waterlogged so we came out at the start of the second half and played as if we normally would in the first half, dribbling, trying to win those one-on-one battles.
“We knew we got caught on it too much, especially in the first five minutes of the first half, so we had to get used to the conditions. But yeah it was old school, so many tackles. I’m sure it was good to watch a game like that but, thankfully, we came out on top.”