Rio Ferdinand likens Man Utd captain Harry Maguire to Sir Alex flop

The retired centre-back feels his old club’s style of play does not suit Maguire (Picture: Getty)

Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand has defended Harry Maguire and feels the team’s style of play is simply unsuited to him – an issue his former teammate Gerard Pique also had at Old Trafford.

United skipper Maguire has been widely criticised for his performances this season and has been part of a defence that has conceded a miserable 42 goals in 31 Premier League games – and it might have been even worse but for David de Gea.

Yet the former Leicester City defender has always excelled for England, playing a starring role en route to the Euro 2020 final last summer.

Maguire has been outstanding for England under Gareth Southgate (Getty)

Ferdinand feels England’s style and setup – with Maguire often playing on the left of a back three – suits him much more and drew comparisons with Pique’s struggles under Sir Alex Ferguson, who went on to thrive in Barcelona’s ball-playing backline.

‘In an England shirt he’s been nothing but phenomenal. He’s been unreal. You can’t say he’s a dead player, he’s been unbelievable for England,’ said Ferdinand on his Vibe with FIVE YouTube show.

‘What I’m saying is, for England he’s been great, but they play a particular way of football that probably suits him.

‘Gerard Pique was at Man United, you could argue that he might not have had the career that he’s had at Barcelona if he stayed at Man United because of the way he plays.

‘It’s like boxing, styles make fights – it’s the same in football. The way of Man United’s football, and the way that they are trying to play, hasn’t suited him.

‘But also form and confidence. His confidence has taken a big knock and I don’t care who you are, you could be Messi, Ronaldo, Zidane, Mbappe all these players – if their confidence is low they are not the same player.’

Maguire gave another lacklustre display against Everton in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat and Ferdinand spoke to Toffees boss Frank Lampard before and after the game, revealing that United have lost their fear factor to opposition teams – even those in a relegation fight.

Pique struggled in the Premier League before returning to Barca (Picture: Getty)

Asked if he had discussed the game with Lampard, Ferdinand continued: ‘I did actually, I spoke to him on text [before the game] and I spoke to him this morning actually on a call. Like he said, this Man United isn’t the Man United that he was playing against, so you approach the game very differently.

‘I think we’ve seen many times in recent months that Man United have spells in games every now and again, they’ll play well and you think, “Oh, this is Man United, this looks good!”

‘But then very quickly, minutes later, they undo all that good work with a crazy individual error or the team just falls back and it becomes a negative situation.

‘When you’re an opposing manager to Man United now you think you’re going to get chances, it’s about whether they can be clinical, and whether they can stop United’s forwards scoring goals.’

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