Maguire still keen on ever-present record
Harry Maguire is hoping he will become the first Manchester United outfield player in 25 years to complete every minute of a Premier League season, despite the hectic run-in to the disrupted campaign.
The skipper is on course to emulate fellow centre-back Gary Pallister, who twice managed the feat – in 1992/93 and 1994/95.
It could prove a tall order with so many fixtures crammed in until the end of next month, but only eight matches remain, beginning with Wednesday's clash with Sheffield United, which is being played behind closed doors.
Maguire, of course, started his career with the Blades and it will be another chance for him to perform against his old club, following the 3-3 draw at Bramall Lane earlier in the season. The skipper spoke to United Review, the official matchday programme, for a lengthy interview and copies are available to purchase online.
With the Reds determined to extend a 12-game unbeaten run and push towards the top four, it is a key fixture against Chris Wilder's men, who are currently just two places and two points adrift in seventh spot.
When asked if the ever-present record will be difficult to maintain with the exhausting schedule, Maguire replied: "Yes, it’s going to be hard work with games coming every three days or so. But, no, I’m in a great position – physically and, mentally, I’m fresh and ready to go. I hope, with every player coming back, we don’t want anyone to pick up any injuries due to the amount of games we have coming up.
“Fingers crossed for all players out there – we don’t want anybody picking up injuries so there are fully fit squads and everyone going full throttle at it, playing football. It’s what we love to do.
“I’ve seen, on Sky, the fixtures and how many games are being shown every day really, so it’s going to be a great time for the fans to sit back and watch. They will be disappointed they can’t go to stadiums to support the lads, but it’s the best we can do at the minute. I am sure it will still be a great time for fans and, hopefully, for the players as well."
The defender says the lack of supporters will be no excuse for not getting the three points. The side had looked really solid at the back before lockdown and the goal conceded at Tottenham last Friday by David De Gea, another ever-present throughout the league season in 2019/20 thus far, was only the second time the Spaniard has been beaten in his last seven outings.
"I’m sure it will feel really different before the game and after the match," Harry added. "But we’re really focused on when the whistle goes and wanting to get three points. That has got to be the main focus and will take our minds off what goes on before and after the game.
“When the whistle goes, it’s 90 minutes and we want three points. The only thing different is there are no fans in the stadium. The mindset stays the same."