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

Harry Maguire
Harry Maguire has been subject of harsh criticism this season by former Tottenham midfielder Rafael van der Vaart | Pool/Getty Images

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.

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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.

Dutch Eredivisie"Ajax Amsterdam v PSV Eindhoven"
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.