Matic: Why I had to fine Harry Maguire
Nemanja Matic has admitted he recently had to dish out a fine to Manchester United captain Harry Maguire — only days after he and the skipper had sat down to decide the squad’s disciplinary rules!
As two of the most senior players in the first-team set-up, Maguire and Matic are expected to set the standards when it comes to professionalism.
And the pair are so keen to raise the bar when it comes to player conduct, that they put their heads together to come up with a set of regulations for their team-mates to follow. If anyone fell foul, a fine would be incurred.
But there was an unexpected twist just days later, when the Serbian caught Maguire handling his phone in the gym — something which is forbidden.
An awkward conversation ensued, as Matic told club media earlier this week.
“He was fined, yeah,” said Nemanja. “He brought his phone to the gym. The problem was [that] me and him, we decide what are the fines! A few days later, he brought the phone to the gym, so I said, 'Harry, I'm sorry…'
“It's very important, discipline, in our team, so that's why we made some basic rules,” he continued. “Not to be late for training, not to be late for meetings, no phones in the gym. The guys struggled to adapt for a few months, so we had a lot of money in our account, but it's going to be better!”
For his part, Maguire told us that his punishment was “debatable”.
“I’ve been fined once which is still debatable,” he complained. “It’s crazy, but I let Nemanja do it. I took the hit and put the money in the pot. When you meet in the gym before training for pre-activation, you are not allowed your phone. We did pre-activation; I didn’t have my phone.
“But then you go outside to put your boots on and you aren’t allowed to go on your phone in that period. I had my phone and carried it out with me.
“[But] I wasn’t on my phone. Straight after training, I was going to put my trainers back on and go up for a massage instead of coming all the way back [to the changing room]. I could have gone straight to a massage, and Nemanja fined me for that. But he’s strict with everyone so I’m happy. I can set the standard.”
Indeed, Matic is such a stickler for the rules that he even recently took the unconventional step of fining himself — though he expects one fellow team-mate to cough up half of the penalty fee.
“I have to say, just before the Newcastle game, I fined myself,” he laughed. “I was late for a meeting by two seconds, and the rules are the same for everyone. I had to fine myself, because they catch me!
“I was late to the meeting. In front of the room [where the meeting was taking place] I was talking to Paul [Pogba], so I will ask him to pay 50 per cent of my fine. I don't know if he will accept!”