Neil Humphreys: Now do it for your club, Maguire
After England boost, Man United skipper must improve in key games
A footballer being savaged by Roy Keane is like a rock star being ridiculed by Noel Gallagher. It's a badge of honour of sorts, proof that the victim is worthy of attention.
Well, Harry Maguire is certainly worthy of Keane's attention.
The former Manchester United skipper seems obsessed with the current United captain, ripping into Maguire like a drunk attacking random strangers at a bus stop.
In recent days, Keane has dismissed Maguire as both "embarrassing" and a "robot" that lacks character. In the same period, England manager Gareth Southgate has praised Maguire's character.
Once again, the Maguire schizophrenic effect takes hold, involving one footballer, two different teams, two different personalities and a baffled audience asking the same question. Will the real Maguire stand up?
There's the immaculate Maguire of England, winner of every aerial challenge and highest-scoring centre-back of all time for his country. He rarely puts a foot wrong.
Then there's the cartoonish Maguire of United, an absentee at set-pieces and seemingly incapable of defensive fundamentals such as tracking and tackling.
In the past month, he rarely put a foot right at Old Trafford.
Heavy losses against Leicester City, Liverpool and Manchester City involved unforced errors, as opponents targeted the blind spots over his shoulder and profited on the counter-attack.
With upcoming fixtures against Watford, Villarreal, Chelsea and Arsenal to contemplate, the Red Devils could certainly use the swaggering, ear-cupping guy who indulges in grandiose goal celebrations with England.
But perhaps Maguire isn't entirely the problem. Rushed back from injury, he still struggles to follow the contradictory instructions of the Voldemort of Manchester. He who cannot be named, especially by old teammates sitting in TV studios.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer cannot be directly blamed for every defensive error any more than Southgate can be entirely credited for keeping two clean sheets against Albania and San Marino. But there is a cause and effect element in both instances.
Defensive conservatism is a criticism still levelled at Southgate, but there's no doubting England's newfound fortitude.
Purists may be sniffy, but Portugal and Italy, to pick a couple of prominent names thrown into the play-off lottery, can only envy England.
Under Southgate, the Three Lions' tight structure has led them to a World Cup semi-final, a European Championship final and secured a stress-free passage to Qatar 2022.
Solskjaer cannot settle on a discernibly familiar line-up or formation from week to week, let alone tournament to tournament. As a result, the Red Devils rarely suit Maguire's game.
Playing a high press with half a side that rarely track back allows counter-attacking opponents to bypass United's holding midfielders and target the spaces either side of the centre-backs.
Far too often, Maguire has been caught stranded, desperately trying to mind the gaps left by missing fullbacks in an unwinnable foot race against wide forwards. Leicester, Liverpool and City exploited the obvious flaw and met with little resistance.
Maguire's strengths are typically found in his own box, dominating in the air and marshalling his defence, rather than loitering near the halfway line, hoping that a galloping winger doesn't spring yet another offside trap.
Not that the 28-year-old is immune to criticism. By his own admission, Maguire has been guilty of too many mistakes.
But he was dragged into the first team without sufficient recovery time from a calf injury and thrown into an erratic, pressing system that seldom makes the most of his attributes.
And yet, he's the embarrassing one, the robot, the one without character, spirit, desire and hunger and the usual other soundbites spewed from the pundit's chair to protect the nicest Norwegian in management.
Maguire's topsy-turvy form really could be the tale of two managers, rather than an identity crisis between club and country.
Either way, the defender must reassert himself in a United jersey quickly, if he's going to escape the wrath of Solskjaer's loyalists.