Australian rugby league Immortal and Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga has backed Michael Maguire to take charge of the New South Wales Blues.

In spite of Maguire’s repeated insistence that his sole focus is leading the Kiwis, the former NRL coach is being touted as Brad Fittler’s replacement at the helm of the Blues.

Speaking ahead of Australia’s battle with New Zealand in the Pacific Cup final on Saturday, Meninga trusted that Maguire could balance both jobs.

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“He is a great man, Madge,” he told media on Friday.

“Obviously he is [from] New South Wales … so I think if given the job he will do a terrific job. I think he’s a great representative coach as well, so he’ll bring the best out of those fellas. But that’s not my decision.”

As the most successful coach in State of Origin history with nine series victories and chasing a 24th win in his 26th Test match with the Kangaroos, Meninga understands what makes a winning formula.

Asked what is the key to coaching success at rep level, Meninga put it all down to showing enthusiasm.

“You’ve got to be passionate, [representative football] was born out of passion,” he said.

“I was lucky enough to play that first ever game [under State of Origin selection rules] and the enormity of that sort of changed the face of interstate footy.”

Meninga may also be setting New South Welshman Dylan Edwards up for his Origin debut, naming the Panthers’ fullback out of position on the wing for Australia.

“His form in the NRL over the last few years deserves the opportunity to play rep football,” Meninga said.

Watch the Kangaroos take on New Zealand in the 2023 Pacific Championships final on Nine and 9Now

Unable to break into the side at fullback, Edwards said he would be to don the No.2 jersey for his state.

“I’d put my hand up to play anywhere,” he said.

“If I was to get that opportunity in the state side, I’d definitely take it.”

Manchester United defender Harry Maguire has been linked with a January move to West Ham.

The England centre-back has fallen out of favour at Old Trafford and the Hammers had been keen on signing him in the summer.

Harry Kane has stood behind England teammate Harry Maguire, who he believes has been scapegoated in recent times despite being “one of the best defenders in England history”

Bayern Munich’s Harry Kane has called for an end to the scrutiny of international teammate and namesake Harry Maguire, who the former Tottenham captain believes is being treated unfairly. 

Kane wants more respect for Maguire

Kane, who moved to Bayern Munich from Tottenham, is set to come up against Maguire’s Manchester United in the first game of the UEFA Champions League, although the defender will miss the match due to injury.

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England’s top scorer and former Tottenham captain, Kane, went to great lengths to stand up for Maguire, who has faced increasing criticism, even by his own fans, which national team manager Gareth Southgate described as “an absolute joke” following the latest incidents. 

Kane was speaking at the pre-match press conference before the Bayern Munich versus Manchester United game when he was asked about Maguire’s current plight, and he replied, “He has come under some really unnecessary scrutiny. He has probably been scapegoated a little bit in terms of the way the team [Manchester United] have gone over in recent times.

Kane backs Maguire to bounce back from slump

Kane also supported Maguire, who he described as a close friend and a hard worker, making a shocking claim about the Manchester United centre-backs being one of the best defenders in the England national team’s history. 

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“He’s a really good friend of mine, a great guy, and a really hardworking professional,” Kane said, continuing, “From an England point of view, he is one of our best defenders in recent times.

“I’d go as far to say as one of the best defenders in our history of our country in an England shirt.

Harry Kane and Harry Maguire for England | Imago

Harry Kane and Harry Maguire for England | Imago

The Bayern Munich striker also backed Maguire to come back stronger from his current situation, saying, “It’s part of our game now. It’s part of football. You’re scrutinised all over social media but knowing him, all he’ll want to do is work harder, improve, get better, and stay focused.

“We’re fully behind him as a national team. I know the coach [Gareth Southgate] came out, and backed him fully. There is always going to be noise around players.”

Maguire’s injury means that he will not get to face Kane in the UEFA Champions League just yet, and with his current form differing significantly from that of Kane, who is on fire with five goals and two assists in seven games for club and country, the Manchester United defender will be happy to sit this one out. 

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Raphael Varane says taking Manchester United captaincy away from Harry Maguire and appointing Bruno Fernandes shows Erik ten Hag isn

Manchester United defender, Raphael Varane has been convinced that the club coach Erik ten Hag isn’t afraid to make big decisions after 

he took captaincy away from Harry Maguire and appointed Bruno Fernandes. 


The Dutch football coach took the captaincy away from Harry Maguire and has given the armband to Fernandes ahead of the new campaign. 


Raphael Varane says taking Manchester United captaincy away from Harry Maguire and appointing Bruno Fernandes shows Erik ten Hag isn


Varane said that Ten Hag has a clear vision of wanting a team with character at United and has shown great determination since he came to the club.


Varane told ESPN: ‘He wants a team with character and he’s the leader so he has to show it himself.


‘He’s not scared to take these decisions and take that responsibility. That is what we expect from the manager. He did it so I think, with things like this, you show by example.


‘He knows exactly what he wants. He’s shown that determination and from the first day we’ve known exactly what we’ve had to do and where he wants to go. It’s all clear for the players and for the team and we have a good connection with the manager.’


Maguire was previously appointed captain by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but the defender has fallen out of favour under ten Hag and is no longer a regular starter.


Reflecting on Ten Hag’s decision, Maguire admitted that he was ‘extremely disappointed’.


However, Maguire stated that he is determined to continue giving his all for United. 


Maguire wrote on Twitter: ‘After discussions with the manager today he has informed me he is changing captain.


‘He outlined his reasons to me and whilst I’m personally extremely disappointed, I will continue to give my all every time I wear the shirt.


‘So I wanted to say a massive thank you to the Manchester United fans for all their brilliant support whilst I’ve been wearing the armband.’


Maguire also expressed his appreciation to Solskjaer for appointing him as captain. 


He said: ‘Since the day I took on the role, three and half years ago, it’s been a huge privilege to lead Manchester United and one of the proudest moments of my career to date,’ he added. ‘It’s one of the greatest honours in club football.


‘I’ve done everything I possibly could to help United be successful – on and off the field. I will always be grateful to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for first giving me the responsibility and I wish whoever now takes it on every success and they will have my full support.’


During his time as United boss ten Hag hasn’t been afraid to upset big names, including Cristiano Ronaldo, who ended up leaving the club.



Bruno Fernandes named new Manchester United captain after Harry Maguire was stripped of the role

Bruno Fernandes has been named the new club captain of Manchester United, replacing Harry Maguire after the England defender was stripped of the honour by coach Erik ten Hag.

The Portuguese midfielder has been the de facto captain since Ten Hag ended the defender’s status as an automatic choice after two matches last season.

On Sunday, England international Harry Maguire revealed via a post on social media that he had been stripped of the role as United captain by boss Erik ten Hag.

Bruno Fernandes named new Manchester United captain after Harry Maguire was stripped of the role

Fernandes has scored 64 goals and made 54 assists in 185 United games since joining in January 2020 and has twice won the club’s Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award.


Fernandes’ first game as skipper will come on Saturday night when United take on Arsenal in the first fixture of their pre-season tour of the United States.

A club statement confirming Fernandes’ new role said: ‘’The Portuguese midfielder has already worn the armband for United on numerous occasions and Erik ten Hag has confirmed that he will now lead the team permanently.”

“Fernandes has scored 64 goals and contributed 54 assists in just 185 games for the club since joining in 2020.

“As captain, the two-time Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year will continue to drive the highest standards throughout the squad as United push for success in the 2023/24 season and beyond.” 

Chelsea are looking at bringing Harry Maguire from Manchester United this summer, in a huge transfer shock.

Maguire has recently relinquished the captaincy at Old Trafford, confirming on Twitter that Erik ten Hag stripped him of the armband in a meeting. Still, the England international has insisted that he wants to continue to fight for his place and impress the Dutchman – despite rarely starting last season.

With Gareth Southgate admitting that the centre-back’s lack of game-time would eventually make his position as a guaranteed starter for his country untenable, it seems likely that Maguire will end his time at Old Trafford this summer under a cloud.

Gareth Southgate

Gareth Southgate has admitted he can’t keep picking Maguire forever if he isn’t getting regular starts (Image credit: BBC)

The Sun have claimed that Chelsea are lining up a switch for the 30-year-old to tempt him to west London and reject the overtures of the likes of West Ham United and Tottenham.

Manchester United captain Harry Maguire is training three times a day in Portugal with a former Chelsea defender in a bid to save his Old Trafford career.

Maguire was limited to just 8 Premier League starts last season and has been on the exit list through the start of this summer’s transfer window.

The 30-year-old has fallen behind Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez, and Victor Lindelof in the pecking order and has been strongly linked with an exit. However, any move away from Old Trafford has been made complicated by his reported weekly wage package in excess of £200,000.

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Manchester United defender Harry Maguire trains with ex-Chelsea star Ricardo Carvalho

The United captain has been doing triple sessions in a bid to get in peak shape for the upcoming season and has been at it for the past two weeks.

Manager Erik ten Hag is happy to keep Maguire but the club will sell the defender if an offer arrives that meets their asking price. 

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Manchester United could well already have their Harry Maguire replacement sorted ahead of a huge summer of business.

Captain Maguire moved to Old Trafford in 2019 in a world record deal for a defender, signing for around £80 million. The England international has fluctuated in form since, with manager Erik ten Hag deeming him surplus to requirements in his side.

While plenty of new defenders have been touted, however, one intriguing new link suggests that Ten Hag has already sorted a replacement at centre-back for Maguire.

Harry Maguire of Manchester United applauds the supporters after the Emirates FA Cup third round match between Manchester United and Everton on 6 January, 2023 at Old Trafford in Manchester, United Kingdom.

Harry Maguire is set to leave Manchester United this summer (Image credit: Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

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Manchester United football club of England are reportedly set to axe 17 players this summer in a bid to raise £208m, according to new reports.


Manager, Erik ten Hag is set to spearhead a mass overhaul of his squad at the end of the season following the club’s 5-2 aggregate loss to Sevilla on Thursday night, April 20.


According to Sports Mail, a number of high-profile names could be sold as the Dutch boss ruthlessly culls a host of unwanted stars including keeper David de Gea and captain Harry Maguire with the pair suffering nightmare displays in the Red Devils’ defeat to Sevilla.

De Gea’s contract is set to expire this summer, but United could opt to trigger a one-year extension in order to command a fee.


Manchester united plan to sell 17 stars worth

United Midfielders Fred and Scott McTominay are two more players in danger of being shown the exit door, along with right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka according to the report.


Also the likes of Anthony Elanga, Victor Lindelof, Donny van de Beek, Brandon Williams, Eric Bailly and Alex Telles – who were loaned out this season – could all be sold.

Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe are out of contract, while Dean Henderson could leave after two seasons on loan at Nottingham Forest.


Manchester united plan to sell 17 stars worth

The report detailed how much each of the players could command in the transfer window

David de Gea – £13m
Harry Maguire – £22m
Victor Lindelof – £13m
Phil Jones – free
Brandon Williams – £9m
Aaron Wan-Bissaka – £19m
Scott McTominay – £22m
Fred – £18m
Donny van de Beek – £15m
Anthony Elanga – £22m
Anthony Martial – £13m
Eric Bailly – £7m
Alex Telles – £11m
Axel Tuanzebe – £5m
Dean Henderson – £19m
Wout Weghorst – Free (returning to parent club)
Marcel Sabitzer – Free (returning to parent club)

The exodus of players from Old Trafford could raise more than £200m to spend on new arrivals, top of their list of priorities would be Napoli sensation Victor Osimhen and Tottenham talisman Harry Kane .


Ofcom analysis of 2.3 million tweets in the first half of last season found nearly 60,000 abusive posts, affecting seven in 10 top-flight players.

Half of that abuse was directed at just 12 individuals – eight from United. However, the study by the Alan Turing Institute also found the vast majority of fans use social media responsibly.

“These findings shed light on a dark side to the beautiful game,” said Kevin Bakhurst, Ofcom’s group director for broadcasting and online content.

“Online abuse has no place in sport, nor in wider society, and tackling it requires a team effort.”

The report identified two peaks in the frequency of abusive tweets. The first came on the day Ronaldo rejoined Manchester United on 27 August 2021, generating three times more tweets than any other day (188,769), of which 3,961 were abusive. At 2.3%, that is marginally lower than the daily average.

The volume of posts can largely be accounted for because of Ronaldo’s 98.4m followers. On this day, Portugal forward was mentioned in 90% of all tweets aimed at Premier League footballers and 97% of abusive tweets.

The second peak came on 7 November when defender Maguire tweeted an apology following Manchester United’s 2-0 home defeat by Manchester City.

On that occasion, 2,903 abusive tweets were sent – 10.6% of the total that day – with many users reacting to Maguire’s post with insulting or demeaning language.

The report also found a duplicated tweet – using the same exact phrase – was sent to Maguire 69 times by different users within two hours.

The study says “it is possible that this duplication occurred because users saw the abusive message and decided to replicate it – indicating organic organisation rather than coordinated behaviour”.

The Alan Turing Institute said that understanding the organisation of online abuse is of increasing interest given the harm caused by coordinated attacks and “pile-on”.

Other players were targeted by large volumes of abuse following a “trigger”, despite receiving relatively few tweets overall.

Newcastle defender Ciaran Clark, now on loan at Sheffield United, was sent off against Norwich in November, with 78% of the abusive tweets he received coming on this day.

Meanwhile, Crystal Palace’s James McArthur was also the subject of a spike in abuse after being yellow carded for stepping on Bukayo Saka against Arsenal in October.

Researchers will also look at whether a spike took place when an incident that saw West Ham defender Kurt Zouma kicking and slapping his cat came to light, as that took place after the data was collected.

As part of its preparation to regulate tech giants under new online safety laws, Ofcom teamed up with the Alan Turing Institute, the UK’s national institute for data science and artificial intelligence, to analyse more than 2.3 million tweets directed at Premier League footballers over the first five months of the 2021-22 season.

The study created a new machine-learning technology to automatically assess whether tweets are abusive, while a team of experts also manually reviewed a random sample of 3,000 tweets.

Of that sample, 57% were positive towards players, 27% were neutral and 12.5% were critical. The remaining 3.5% were abusive.

Of the 2.3 million tweets analysed with the machine-learning tool, 2.6% contained abuse.

“These stark findings uncover the extent to which footballers are subjected to vile abuse across social media,” said Dr Bertie Vidgen, lead author of the report and head of online safety at the Alan Turing Institute.

“While tackling online abuse is difficult, we can’t leave it unchallenged. More must be done to stop the worst forms of content, to ensure that players can do their job without being subjected to abuse.”

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