Manchester United defender Harry Maguire is almost as good as Liverpool centre-back Virgil van Dijk despite his disappointing start to the season, according to a recent study.
The England international has only made five appearances for Erik ten Hag’s side so far this campaign, starting for the Reds on three occasions. He has been dropped to the bench in recent weeks with Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane forming a solid partnership at the heart of defence.
Maguire has come under scrutiny for his personal performances in the past year and has been criticised by former players and pundits, however, a study by Midnite has found that the 29-year-old is still performing well statistically.
Esports and sports betting platform Midnite compared all the defenders at the ‘big six’ clubs since the start of their Premier League careers and unveiled some interesting findings.
According to their research, Martinez only wins 50% of his tackles, Varane has the fourth worst interceptions per game, while Maguire is still ‘one of the best’.
It also states that despite coming under intense scrutiny, Maguire’s defensive statistics are just as good as Van Dijk’s, who is widely regarded as the best centre-back in the world.
The study found that Van Dijk has made 206 tackles with a 69% success rate in his 202 Premier League appearances, making 221 interceptions. However, Maguire – in four games more – made 254 tackles, with an almost identical success rate of 67%.
The England centre-back also recorded 326 interceptions at 1.58 interceptions per game, while Van Dijk’s record is 1.59 per game.
Moreover, Van Dijk wins 74% of his aerial duels compared to 72% for Maguire – which equates to the best record of all central defenders in the big six clubs.
However, Maguire’s defensive teammate Martinez has not been as successful as the Englishman when it comes to tackling, only winning 50% of his duels.
Another surprise is that Victor Lindelof averages better defensive statistics than World Cup and Champions League winner Varane in tackles and interceptions.