David Moyes has claimed Harry Maguire "had a big arse" after he watched him play while he was Manchester United boss but insists he chose not to try to sign him as he already had plenty of centre-backs at the club.
It has been suggested, on the back of a record-breaking transfer in 2019, that the Red Devils could have landed the £80 million ($96m) defender some years ago.
Moyes was said to have snubbed the opportunity to sign Maguire for just £4m when charged with the task of succeeding Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford.
The Scot admits to being aware of the potential of the former Sheffield United man, but insists that, while he did go to watch him live, he didn't feel there was a need to buy him at the time.
Moyes told talkSPORT: “We didn’t try to sign him but we flagged him up at that time.
“I was very aware of the players in the lower leagues and had a made good career out of bringing them to Everton – whether that be Tim Cahill or all the ones we did through the years.
“Harry Maguire was another one I recognised. He played against Preston North End at home in a league game and I watched him and thought he played really well but at that time he was really big – he had a big arse. You thought: 'My goodness, how big is Harry going to be' because he was a relatively young boy at that time.
“To be fair he looks in terrific shape and he hasn’t changed at all really. When I went to United, we had [Nemanja] Vidic, Rio [Ferdinand], Jonny Evans, Michael Keane, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling so for us to go and buy another young centre-half wasn’t the biggest thing we needed at the time.
“And Harry Maguire has had to go on his journey. Sometimes the players need the journey to get to where they have to go. He might have struggled then.”
Maguire’s journey from Sheffield to Manchester has taken him via Hull and Leicester.
He got the chance to make his Red Devils bow on the opening weekend of the 2019-20 Premier League season, and caught the eye in a 4-0 victory over Chelsea.
Paul Pogba was another of those to make a telling contribution for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, with Moyes considering it to be imperative that a midfielder who continues to be linked with a move to Real Madrid is retained at Old Trafford.
He added on the divisive World Cup winner: “I think Manchester United should keep Pogba because he is one the top players in the world.
“He has got really good ability. He might have just needed a bit of time to settle. I think it has been unsettling because of the way him or his agent have come out and said he wants to move again.
“But if you look at Manchester United’s midfield on Sunday, not having Paul Pogba would have made them much weaker.”