Rio questions whether Man Utd can win PL with Maguire

Rio questions whether Man Utd can win PL with Maguire

by Emily Smith
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Date published: Monday 28th February 2022 8:12 – Will Ford

Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand has questioned whether his former club can win the league with captain Harry Maguire at the heart of their defence.

Maguire has been criticised for much of the season and was dropped for Saturday’s 0-0 draw against Watford at Old Trafford after a string of dubious displays.

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And Ferdinand believes Maguire – who joined United from Leicester for £80m in 2019 – may struggle to reclaim his position as opposition teams target him for over lack of pace.

“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.”

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