England and Manchester United football star Harry Maguire goes back to roots to support Sheffield community

Sheffield lad and England football star Harry Maguire has spoken of the love of his local community and his desire to give back to vulnerable people during the coronavirus crisis.

Maguire, who broke through at Sheffield United’s youth system playing 134 games for the Blades, is funding food boxes to be delivered to elderly and vulnerable people in and around Mosborough, where he grew up.

The 6ft 4in defender, now at Premier League giants Manchester United, spoke exclusively to the Local Democracy Reporting Service about why he felt he had to do something.

The 27-year-old father-of-one also spoke about how he is keeping active during lockdown.

England and Manchester United footballer Harry Maguire is urging people to stay safe during the coronavirus pandemic

Herrings Top Shop greengrocers, on Mosborough’s High Street, will provide the food boxes, which include food essentials from their suppliers Fields Fruit & Veg.The food parcels include bread, milk fruit, vegetables, cheese, butter and other items.

The Manchester United skipper is also co-ordinating his squad's response to the newly launched Players Together NHS fund.

Maguire said: “I am very proud of my Mosborough roots – it’s where I grew up and where my family still live. I come back to visit everyone as much as I can.

“There’s always been a real sense of community in the area which is more important than ever at the moment.

David, left, and Steven Herring outside their shop in Mosborough getting together one of the food boxes that have been paid for from a donation by Harry Maguire the former Sheffield United defender.

“In times like these you think a lot about your loved ones and those that are more elderly, so, I just wanted to do something to help those who need it most.

“Herrings is a bit of an institution in Mosborough, so my Dad and I approached them about creating food packages of everyday essentials to those aged 70 and over – or their carers – in the local area.

“Herrings has been brilliant in helping us make this happen, as has its suppliers Fields Fruit & Veg, which is going to carry out all of the deliveries – so it’s been an incredible team effort so far.

“My family and I hope this provides a small comfort to people who might be struggling.

Harry Maguire, left, and Steve Herring

“I want to draw attention to the fact these food parcels can be claimed if people tell us who needs them, so, if you would like to receive one of these packages, or know someone else who might appreciate one, then please look at the Mosborough Community Forum on Facebook where there are further details.

“I appreciate not all senior citizens are on the Internet but hopefully friends, family or carers can assist them.”

Steven Herring, owner of Herrings, spoke highly of Maguire and his need to give back to the community he was raised in.

The 49-year-old, who has been involved in the store for more than 30 years, said: “Harry and his dad Alan came to see us and we discussed what we could do and how they wanted to help.

“I thought it was such a nice gesture.“It’s great what he’s doing - I’ve known Harry since he was knee high. He’s a good lad, he’s well-loved throughout the village and nobody has got a bad word to say about him.

On the lockdown more generally, Steven said: “We’re only letting two customers in at a time and we’ve had to have people queuing outside - it’s so much busier selling a lot more fruit and vegetables than we normally do, because people aren’t eating out and cooking more than they do.

“It means a lot to me when the locals who come in tell us we’re doing an excellent job - I appreciate that.”

Maguire, who was expecting to lead Manchester United’s charge in the Europa League and represent England at the 2020 European Championships this summer, is instead keeping active in his back garden.

He said: “Like everyone, I’m keeping to the government advice and trying to make the best of the situation.

“My daughter is too young to understand what’s going on right now, but she’ll read about these times in the years to come.

“I’m also keeping active and following the training programme that United have given me within the confines of my back garden. It’s not quite Old Trafford, but I still take pride in it.

“I also keep in touch with all my teammates and have found that contact to be really important – as well as family of course.”

Anyone who might be eligible for a food box should visit the Mosborough Community Forum Facebook page.