Gareth Southgate on Harry Maguire form
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Manchester United star Harry Maguire is ‘very calm’ and ‘not worried’ about losing the captaincy under Erik ten Hag, it has been claimed. There have been murmurings the England international will lose the armband having endured a chastening campaign last time out. Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes and David De Gea are just three of the players who have been tipped to replace him in the role.
Manchester United decided to give Maguire the captaincy back in January 2020, shortly after Ashley Young’s departure to Inter Milan.
But while he’s been a regular in the team ever since, the England international’s form has waned – particularly over the last 12 months.
That’s led to claims that Ten Hag could be about to take the armband off the 29-year-old, with Ronaldo, Fernandes and De Gea some of the candidates emerging as potential replacements.
And Fabrizio Romano, writing for CaughtOffside, has now claimed Maguire is ‘very calm’ about his captaincy situation at Old Trafford.
“Erik ten Hag will speak to individual players and there will be a decision on Man United captain in the coming days or weeks,” he said.
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“At the moment, I understand that Harry Maguire is very calm and not worried about Ten Hag’s decision, which would eventually be part of the start of a new technical project.
“Personally, I believe that Cristiano Ronaldo with his leadership can be an excellent captain but the internal decisions on these topics arise from many evaluations: I am sure that Ten Hag will be able to make the best choice.”
Maguire has been the fifth United captain since Sir Alex Ferguson retired nine years ago.
Nemanja Matic was skipper for a year under David Moyes, with Wayne Rooney then taking the armband in 2014 following the appointment of Louis van Gaal.
Following Rooney’s own departure in 2017, Michael Carrick was given the honour for a season by Jose Mourinho.
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After Carrick, Antonio Valencia was promoted – having been a loyal asset to the club over the years.
And when Valencia departed, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer chose to make Ashley Young his leader at Old Trafford.
Ronaldo is the standout choice if United do relieve Maguire of his duties, having won the lot over the course of his glittering career.
But Fernandes can’t be ruled out, either, with there a sense the Portugal international can get even better if given the responsibility.
De Gea is another candidate, too, having been with the Red Devils ever since moving from Atletico Madrid in 2011.
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And whether Maguire does indeed end up losing the armband is something only time will tell, with Ten Hag primed to decide soon.
Luke Chadwick, meanwhile, recently spoke to the same publication.
And he expressed a belief that he’d be ’surprised’ if Maguire kept the captaincy, while also naming De Gea as his personal preference for the role.
“I’d be quite surprised if Maguire stays as captain,” Chadwick said.
“De Gea would probably be the overwhelming favourite.
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“Either way, I’d bet that it won’t be Harry Maguire leading them out next season.
“I think Harry would be disappointed to relinquish the captain’s armband, it’s such a huge honour to be the captain of a club like Man United.
“At the same time, I think it would free him up a bit to get back to his best.
“Last season was a disappointing one for him, he had a lot of stick, but we’ve seen in the past that he can be a top Premier League centre-half.
“Maybe taking that pressure away would let him concentrate on his performances.”
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