Former Manchester United skipper Steve Bruce has told Harry Maguire to go back to basics as he attempts to negotiate a torrid patch in his career.
Maguire has endured a difficult start to the season following his off-field problems in Greece during the summer, culminating in his sending-off in England’s 1-0 Nations League defeat by Denmark on Wednesday, which came just 10 days after he had played in United’s 6-1 drubbing by Tottenham at Old Trafford.
However Newcastle head coach Bruce, who will send his side into Premier League battle with the club for whom he made more than 400 appearances under Sir Alex Ferguson on Saturday evening, is convinced a player he bought during his time in charge at Hull will come good again.
Bruce said: “Look, if you are going to play the game or get to where Harry’s been, he’s had bad trots before and the only thing you can do is do all the basics well, go back to basics and be quiet for a few weeks.
“The one thing you never lose, you know, you never lose your ability, and he’s had a wonderful rise, Harry, from where he’s come from and what he’s done.
“Of course, when you are Manchester United’s captain and centre-back for England, then you’re going to come under these days, scrutiny, and every little thing that you do and you do wrong and what happens in your personal life is all over the newspapers and all the rest of it.
“Then you have to batten down the hatches, you have to do the basics well and get on with it and come through it. And he will, that’s for sure.
“He hasn’t had the best of weeks, but knowing Harry the way I do, he’s resilient so he’ll batten down the hatches, like you have to, and get on with it and I’m sure he’ll come through.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed Maguire is a doubt for the trip to St James’ Park, but whoever lines up at the back for the visitors will face the task of trying to keep Allan Saint-Maximin quiet as he looks to celebrate the new six-year contract he signed this week in style.
Bruce said: “His natural ability is quite remarkable. Let’s hope it’s his day again. He’s full of the joys of spring at the moment and so he should be after committing himself to the club for the next six years, which we’re delighted about.
“Whoever he is playing against, when he is right and he is good, he is a handful for anyone.”