Rafael van der Vaart on His Recent Harry Maguire Comments & Working as a Pundit

James Cormack
Jul 31, 2020, 2:00 PM GMT+1
Harry Maguire has been subject of harsh criticism this season by former Tottenham midfielder Rafael van der Vaart
Harry Maguire has been subject of harsh criticism this season by former Tottenham midfielder Rafael van der Vaart / Pool/Getty Images
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Exclusive - Rafael van der Vaart has refused to backtrack on his recent assessment of Manchester United defender Harry Maguire - insisting his criticism is nothing personal.

The Dutchman previously labelled Maguire as England's "worst player on the pitch" during their UEFA Nations League semi-final defeat to the Netherlands last June, and compared the centre-back to an amateur Sunday league player early in the 2019/20 season.

His latest critique of the £80m man came after United's 5-2 victory over Bournemouth in July, in which Maguire was partly at fault for the Cherries opener. He initially failed to clear a cross from the right before being nutmegged by Junior Stanislas, who went on to score.

Maguire played a big hand in Junior Stanislas' opener
Maguire played a big hand in Junior Stanislas' opener / OLI SCARFF/Getty Images

"I think Maguire goes home every day and tells his wife: ‘I screw up, but I earn so much. They really believe I’m good,'" van der Vaart said, speaking on Dutch TV station Ziggo.

"I really think so, he laughs at everyone."

The 37-year-old has moved onto punditry following his retirement in 2018 and speaking about life after football, Van der Vaart, speaking exclusively to 90min, said: "I like football, I like watching football and this is my job now - I work for Dutch TV, sometimes in England, sometimes in Germany - and I just say what I see."

He admitted that sometimes he forgets about the potential of a big story evolving in England when speaking about a Premier League player on Dutch TV, but has stood by his comments on the United captain.

Van der Vaart has moved onto TV punditry following his retirement
Van der Vaart has moved onto TV punditry following his retirement / ANP Sport/Getty Images

"I have nothing against the player, just my opinion. When somebody pays that money they have to be really special and I think it's not good enough when you say that and people are a little bit surprised.

"But I keep on doing it because I think it's my job," he added.

Rafael van der Vaart is part of KIA's #TheDreamPass campaign - an online football class hosted by legendary former professionals encouraging young players in their respective cities to donate their boots and take part in a skills challenge.

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