Wolves defender Ryan Bennett reckons Manchester United’s Harry Maguire won’t be fazed about his £80m fee because of his footballing background.
Maguire became the world’s most expensive defender when he moved to Old Trafford from Leicester earlier this month, eclipsing the £75m Liverpool splashed out for Virgil Van Dijk from Southampton in January 2018. Maguire spent three seasons in League One with hometown club Sheffield United before moving to then Premier League Hull City, who loaned him to Championship side Wigan. The England international could even have been lining up in a Wolves shirt against United tonight if they had offered £500,000 more after bidding £2.5m for him at the end of the 2013-14 season during Kenny Jackett’s time at the club, ironically when he was a team-mate of Conor Coady, then on loan from Liverpool.
Like Maguire, Bennett also had his formative footballing education in the lower divisions, spending nearly three years in League Two with Grimsby Town before earning a move to Peterborough, then in the Championship, prior to his transfer to Norwich. Bennett believes Maguire has the level-headed temperament for the fee not to weigh him down. “He’s a very good player and he’s a young lad and came up the same way I did,” said the 29-year-old. “He plied his trade at Sheffield United in League One and the players who played with him speak highly of him as a person. What he’s done on the pitch is for everyone to see but off the pitch he is a good lad too.”
United paid around £125m to strengthen their defence with Maguire and right back Aaron Wan-Bissaka from Crystal Palace. Bennett believes they will improve Oke Gunnar Solskjaer’s back line. “It’s something they feel they needed to reinforce, looking at last year, and they’ve brought in two good players,” he added. “Maguire what he has done in the last couple of seasons has been tremendous and Wan-Bissaka has really impressed when he’s played. They did really well in the first game and got the clean sheet and that’s good for them.”
Memorably under the Molineux lights, Wolves beat United 2-1 twice last season, knocking them out of the FA Cup in the quarter-finals before repeating the feat by the same scoreline in the Premier League two weeks later. United romped to a 4-0 win against Chelsea on the opening day and Bennett insists those results won’t have any bearing on tonight’s rematch in Wolves’ opening home Premier League fixture of the season. “It’s a different season and the past is the past,” he said. “From their side they know they didn’t have a very good season for their standards last year and they’re looking to put that right. The first game they managed to get a positive result. we know it’s going to be tough game.”