‘If I’m a quick attacker, I’d hang around Harry Maguire’: Rio Ferdinand says the Manchester United captain’s lack of pace ‘is a big weakness’ and questions if the Red Devils can win the league with him as he struggles 1v1 on the halfway line
- Rio Ferdinand questioned if Harry Maguire can play the way Man United want to
- The ex-United man feels Maguire has a weakness if left 1v1 on the halfway line
- Ferdinand asked if United could win the league with Maguire as a key player
Rio Ferdinand has questioned whether Manchester United will ever be able to win the league with their defence centered around captain Harry Maguire.
Maguire, an £80m signing from Leicester in 2019, has struggled to produce his finest form this season and was dropped for Saturday’s 0-0 draw against Watford at Old Trafford.
Ferdinand believes Maguire’s lack of pace, combined with how top teams press defenders to win the ball back higher up the pitch, means he could struggle to reclaim his position in the club’s long-term future.
Rio Ferdinand has questioned Harry Maguire’s credentials defending 1v1 on the halfway line
Ex-United man Ferdinand questioned if his old side can win the league with Maguire in defence
United captain Maguire was dropped for Saturday’s disappointing 0-0 draw with Watford
‘Is Maguire going to enable you to win the league? That’s a question as well,’ Ferdinand said on his Vibe with Five YouTube channel. ‘The thing about someone like Ralf Rangnick and all the top teams now is when they play, they play on the front foot and want to win the ball high.
‘Therefore, you need defenders that can defend on the halfway line 1v1, 2v2 or 3v2 if you want that security. But if you can play 2v2 or 1v1 on the halfway line, that enables you to have more bodies in the opponents’ half. Hence why teams do that, to win the ball early and be closer to the opposition goal to score goals.
‘Liverpool do it tremendously well, Manchester City do it really well, Bayern do it. Three of the best teams on the planet and everyone is going that way of playing football. Rangnick’s style is like that.
‘Can you do that with Maguire? That’s my problem, that’s my issue. His pace doesn’t allow for that, he’s always going to be looking over his shoulder.
‘If I’m a quick centre-forward or a quick attacker, I would be hanging around where Harry Maguire is. For all the good traits he has in his game, that is a big weakness and that is a fundamental of all the top teams, to play 1v1 on the halfway.
‘For Maguire, long-term, unless he can find an extra yard of pace it’s going to be difficult for him.
‘You have to be able to do that. Top teams, top players can do that. Jaap Stam – leave him on the halfway line, not a problem. Virgil van Dijk, leave him on the halfway line, not a problem.’
Ferdinand suggested Maguire isn’t as good 1v1 compared to Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk
Ralf Rangnick is overseeing a style of play where defenders need to be comfortable isolated
United and Maguire are currently battling it out to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
They occupy fourth in the Premier League standings but Saturday’s frustrating draw with Watford allowed fellow contenders Arsenal, West Ham and Tottenham to close the gap.
United return to domestic action on Sunday with a blockbuster showdown against rivals Manchester City.
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