Manchester United players have doubts about captain Harry Maguire
According to The Times (Subscription Required), some members of Manchester United’s squad have questioned the continued selection of club captain Harry Maguire in the team despite his poor performances this season.
Maguire has been well off the pace this term, with the England international committing schoolboy errors and not able to hold his own against strikers, with the opposition forwards running past him like he isn’t there at times.
This has now led to a few players privately questioning why the defender continues to be named in the starting XI regularly despite his average performances. We can only hope that this is just more gossip about dressing room trouble that surrounds the club when they go through a rough patch.
There is truth, however, in Maguire looking off the mark and low on confidence, with the centre-back’s pace his biggest weakness in a competition like the Premier League – an unforgiving competition with some of the world’s best players.
Not upto United standards
The previous summer saw the Red Devils sign Raphael Varane to partner Maguire in defence this season, so as to make the rearguard more stable and ensure that the team does not leak too many goals. This experiment has only been satisfactory so far, with neither player really looking the part.
The 28-year-old’s teammates are said to have aired their grievances among themselves, as some felt that the skipper’s performances did not meet the club’s standards. It certainly is worrying news if your own players feel that their captain is not up to the mark.
In recent games, Varane and Victor Lindelof have looked like the better players in comparison to the Englishman. This was not made easier for Maguire when the team against Watford the previous weekend saw Lindelof and Varane partner each other, making the job seem easy against the Hornets in the absence of their captain.
A clean sheet was also kept in that goalless draw, which is starting to seem like a rare thing when Maguire is on the pitch. For the sake of the club captain, we can hope that it is just a coincidence. After all, a home game against the relegation-threatened Hornets always had United marked as the favourites.
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The Englishman’s lack of pace was also exposed against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League tie last month, as Joao Felix ran past him to score a diving header against David de Gea. A brilliant goal nonetheless, the defender was expected to mark the goalscorer off the back of a set-piece.
March kicks off the club’s most difficult period of games yet, with the Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium greeting us on Sunday. Interim manager Ralf Rangnick dropped Maguire in the previous league game, but it will be a huge call to make this weekend if the German decides to leave out his captain for the second successive game.