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Friday, December 3, 2021

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New Manchester United signings have created issue for Harry Maguire as captain

It’s been a pretty bleak period if you’re a Manchester United supporter as nothing seems to be going well at all.

The 2-0 defeat to Manchester City has meant that United have picked up just one home in their last six Premier League matches played at Old Trafford. When you consider what the aspirations were meant to be for this season, the club is miles away from where it should be.

United registered just one shot on target in the entire match and consequently, it’s added loads of pressure on the manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The Norwegian has come under scrutiny this season for not getting United playing how they should be. There’s been no identity, a lack of pressing and to be honest, the players look like they’ve given up on him.

So far, United have conceded 25 goals this season, which is only two less than Norwich City have let into their own net. When you consider that Solskjaer’s defence on Saturday cost a combined total of around £215million, you expect more for your buck.

The defence has been a key area in which United have struggled this season and it was also a problem in the 2020/21 campaign.

Do you remember how many goals United conceded from set-pieces? 33.3 percent of the goals they conceded came from it. That’s a shocking statistic that needed rectifying.

What did Solskjaer do to try and deal with the problem? Two things. One, he brought in set-piece coach, Eric Ramsay and two, he signed Raphael Varane from Real Madrid.

However, Varane hasn’t played that many games due to injury and United’s defence have been all over the place this season.

You could name several culprits at fault for United’s individual errors, be it the drop in form for Luke Shaw or the poor positioning of Aaron Wan-Bissaka. However, there’s one person who has to take more responsibility than others due to his role at the club.

United’s defence have been all over the place this season (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images) His name is Harry Maguire.

28-year-old Maguire is now at the peak of his career but if you look at his recent performances, they’ve been wide off the mark.

Now, Solskjaer has to take a bit of blame for this, in the sense that he rushed Maguire back from injury and put him straight in the side when United lost 4-2 to Leicester City.

Maguire was awful on the day, but if you look at his performances collectively, they’ve been shocking.

He was at fault for the goal scored by Duvan Zapata against Atalanta and has been part of a backline that have conceded 15 goals in six games. What makes it worse is that he’s the captain of the club.

For any United player wearing the armband, you have to be a leader and willing to fight for anything on the pitch. At the moment, he isn’t.

The England international is meant to be an £80million player but currently, he’s playing like he’s worth a penny. It’s not good enough!

Maguire has actually been one of United’s best players under Solskjaer and towards the end of last season, you could see how much he was desperately missed. He was so good at the back and if he wasn’t injured for the Europa League final, I think Solskjaer would’ve won it.

But, his form has massively dropped and I can only think of one reason why. Yes, it might just be a blip, but he’s the captain!

Just like you, we can’t get enough of Manchester United! That’s why we’ve decided to supplement our expansive United coverage on the Manchester Evening News with a more fan-oriented platform catered specifically to United fans – United On My Mind.

Writers and presenters who share your passion for the red side of Manchester will be producing written, visual and audio content to reflect the mood in the stands as well as the press box.

Follow our team on Twitter (@MikeParrott_, @GarrickOmar, @Casey_Evans_ and @AnilKandola)!

You’ve also got to bear in mind that players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Raphael Varane came to the club to win trophies. Therefore, expectations rose.

When players like Ronaldo and Varane come into a dressing room, it’s going to send excitement, yes, but think about it from Maguire’s point of view.

With respect, this is a man who hasn’t won any major trophies in his playing career and when two superstars that have won pretty much everything in the game rock up to your club, how do you think he feels? Do you really think he’s in a position to tell them off? Does he have the guts to tell people like Ronaldo and Varane to do their job if they make a mistake? I don’t think he does at the moment.

It’s a massive issue that he’ll need to address himself if he wants to keep the armband.

Is Maguire good enough to be captain? Follow our United On My Mind writer Omar Garrick on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and give us your thoughts on the matter in the comments section below.

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