Ashley Williams has savaged Man United defender Harry Maguire for ‘hiding’ in their 1-0 defeat to Newcastle on Saturday night.
Manchester United suffered yet another bump in their turbulent season at St James’ Park as they were outplayed by Newcastle with several players coming under fire for lacklustre performances.
Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial bore the brunt of criticism for most fans and pundits while centre-back pairing Maguire and Luke Shaw largely escaped criticism as Anthony Gordon‘s goal won it for Eddie Howe‘s side.
However, Williams took issue with Maguire for failing to demand the ball enough, accusing him of ‘sneaky’ behaviour by continually signalling goalkeeper Andre Onana to distribute the ball to right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka instead of himself.
Maguire is enjoying a rare run in the team under boss Erik ten Hag in recent weeks despite his future looking doubtful earlier in the campaign.
But despite the England man receiving praise for an upturn in form of late, Williams was not impressed and claimed he went missing against Newcastle and didn’t want to get on the ball enough.
The ex-Swansea centre-back said: ‘How many times did he get in the position where he knew, I know that he knows – “I cannot get this ball off Onana and I’m leaving him”, that’s what I can’t deal with.
‘I can’t deal with the not tracking back and I also can’t deal with this sneaky… how many times do you go inside and point to Wan-Bissaka as if [to say] “give it to Wan-Bissaka and I’ll get it next”.
‘He’s hiding, there are so many accounts of it. That’s why my melon was going while I was watching it because I’m saying he’s the captain and everyone’s had their say about him. “He’s turned a corner”. No you haven’t. They’re saying he defended well. Fair enough. But when you’re Newcastle, you press high”.
‘There’s no target man so you can’t bypass the press. You’ve got to be good and play around the press, which they try to do. You’ve got to at least try to get on the ball and help.’
Ten Hag is under increasing pressure after his side were beaten for the sixth time already this season – with United in seventh place on 24 points.
Pundits tore into the players after their limp display at Newcastle, with Jermaine Jenas and Ally McCoist not holding back after claiming the United stars showed poor body language and let Ten Hag down.
Jenas said: ‘I personally thought tonight there were signs that there were a couple of players in there for me that either wasn’t happy with the tactics that was put to them or wasn’t happy with their positions on the pitch”.
‘The body language of a team tells you a lot at times and there were a few of them that were sending a message to the manager”.
‘I thought today Marcus Rashford on that right hand side in particular, the way that he just walked around throwing his arms around was one for me that said “look, I don’t want to be playing on this right hand side”.
‘No tracking back, you had Martial getting ran by Fabian Schar from the centre half doing whatever he wants. There was too many of those moments that I looked at and I thought he (Ten Hag) seems to be such a disciplinarian off the pitch but I didn’t see the same level of respect from the players on the pitch today and that’s a big concern.’
His co-pundit Ally McCoist added: ‘It’s got nothing to do with the manager. When you cross that white line, you’re playing for yourself and the supporters that have travelled.
‘Of course they are [letting the manager down]. It’s not about letting the manager down, you’ve got to look at yourself.
‘When you get on that pitch, you represent yourself, your family, and supporters around the world.’