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Man United Electric Again But Australians Mercilessly Boo Harry Maguire

Manchester United's impressive preseason form continued Tuesday with a 3-1 victory over Crystal Palace at Melbourne Cricket Ground in Australia. United's front three of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho scored the goals, but captain Harry Maguire was constantly jeered and booed by sections of the 76,000-strong crowd. 

It started with the reading of Maguire's name in the starting XI and continued through the first half-hour of the match, although Martial opened the scoring in the 17th-minute after new signing Tyrell Malacia picked out Diogo Dalot and the Portuguese crossed for the Frenchman. 

Martial has three goals in three games this preseason after his failed loan to Sevilla.  

United's second, arriving shortly after halftime, was surgical. Donny van de Beek got the assist and Rashford provided the finish. 

The Red Devils made it 3-0 in the 59th after Rashford found Martial and he released Sancho. Who needs Cristiano Ronaldo? (Fabrizio's latest: the situation is not easy.) 

Joel Ward pulled one back for Palace in the 74th-minute, but Maguire wasn't even on the pitch to blame at that point. 

That's three wins, 11 goals scored and only two conceded out East, so Van de Beek — who knows a thing or two about criticism after his two years in Manchester — questioned the crowd's treatment of Maguire ahead of the new campaign.    

"I heard as well," Van de Beek said about the Maguire jeers. "I didn't know really what happened. But I think if I saw the game today I think Harry was playing really well. He was aggressive, he got so many balls, so that means he has a big personality." 

The problem with Maguire is that he's the world's most expensive defender ($96 million) but isn't close to being the world's best defender. Last year — Maguire's third at the club — was his worst, and his status as captain was reportedly the cause of a locker room split with Ronaldo jockeying for the armband. When you make $12.5 million a year and don't deliver consistently, fans have every right to give you hell. 

To compound matters, Maguire possesses that Phil Jones trait of looking like a hastily drawn character on an Adult Swim show, and his England teammates already blessed him with the perfect name: Slab-head, a man seemingly created in the likeliness of internet bants.   

His mistakes always look hapless — Maguire's thousand-yard stare was the go-to feature image following any United defeat last year — and there's no medium on the planet better at amplifying those snackable failures than Twitter. The narrative becomes a circlejerk, and then you get a huge collection of people booing you at Melbourne Cricket Ground — 10,537 miles from Old Trafford — despite the dawn of a new season with a new manager who's fully backed Maguire as his captain.

The warning for Erik ten Hag is just how much negativity is attached to the current squad in a summer that's not delivered the expected overhaul. Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata and Nemanja Matić have all left, but only Christian Eriksen, Malacia and Lisandro Martínez have been added. Martínez is a left-footed center back and could push Maguire for minutes, but Raphaël Varane also has a point to prove after last season and Victor Lindelöf remains an option. 

The likes of Martial, Rashford, Maguire, Fred and Lindelöf have impressed during preseason, but where patience will be stressed with Ten Hag's approach and vision, there's still the constant counterbalance of a group of players that've already tested the limits of Old Trafford's patience.

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