Roy Keane’s concerns about Harry Maguire’s captaincy of Manchester United are coming true, with the defender enduring a disastrous season. Maguire has been heavily criticised for his performances recently and was part of the season which was dumped out of the Champions League by Atletico Madrid on Tuesday evening.
The centre-back has struggled with injuries this season, with calf and chest problems interrupting his rhythm on the pitch. When he has been fit to play, his performances have frequently left a lot to be desired.
There have been problems off the pitch, too, with The Times reporting recently that some of his team-mates have begun to question Maguire’s place in the side. Meanwhile, The Mirror reported last month that Maguire and Cristiano Ronaldo had fallen out amid a power struggle over the captaincy.
Those internal issues are bleeding onto the pitch, where United are now out of the Champions League and in fifth place in the Premier League. Maguire was given the captaincy by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in January 2020, prompting former United midfielder Keane to question the leadership in the United dressing room.
Maguire has now held the burden of the United captaincy for over two years, but is enduring one of his most difficult periods at the club since his £80million move from Leicester City in August 2019. He scored an own goal in the 3-2 win over Tottenham last weekend and was substituted by Ralf Rangnick in the 84th minute so Juan Mata could come on against Atleti.
“I think the crowd actually cheered when he went off. Which isn’t a nice thing for anyone,” Jamie Carragher said on CBS Sports’ coverage. “I’ve always been a fan of Harry Maguire. He gets criticised because he cost £80m. Virgil van Dijk cost £75m and is the best defender in the world.
“Harry Maguire is not that but he doesn’t set the price. He had a great summer with England at the Euros but this season has been a disaster and he almost just needs to get to the end of the season and just forget about football and get away. He’s having a really tough time. And every decision he makes, he’s probably overthinking it.”
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