Erik ten Hag says Cristiano Ronaldo is part of his plans, but the new Manchester United manager has yet to decide if Harry Maguire will remain captain next season.

Former Ajax boss Ten Hag was appointed as Ralf Rangnick's successor last month on an initial three-year deal and officially started work at Old Trafford on Monday.

Ten Hag takes over on the back of United's worst ever Premier League season in terms of points, with 2021-22 their fifth successive campaign without any silverware.

The Dutchman has a number of pressing issues to deal with, not least Ronaldo's future and the wider debate over who should skipper United.

Ronaldo scored 24 goals in 38 appearances for United in his first season back at the club, which is 13 goals more than next-best Bruno Fernandes.

Indeed, aside from Ronaldo and Fernandes, no other United player made it into double figures for the campaign in all competitions.

Despite netting some vital goals for the Red Devils, Ronaldo's place in the side has been questioned due to his work off the ball.

But asked at his unveiling news conference whether the Portugal international has a part to play under him next season, Ten Hag responded: "Of course".

Probed on what he expects Ronaldo to bring to the side, Ten Hag simply replied: "Goals".

Ronaldo captained United at times this term when regular skipper Maguire was absent, with some questioning whether the defender should hand over the armband permanently.

Rangnick previously suggested it should be down to the players to vote on who captains United from next season, though Ten Hag is expected to have the final say.

The 52-year-old, who guided Ajax to three Eredivisie titles in his four full seasons in charge, gave little away when commenting on the situation on Monday.

"Next season is a different season," he said. "Harry's done a good job and he's a great player. 

"He's achieved a lot and has contributed a lot to Manchester United, so I'm looking forward to working with him."

While Ronaldo and Maguire look set to play a part in United's latest new chapter, Ten Hag is expected to oversee a big overhaul in the coming transfer window.

"I'm still in the process of analysing, to set conclusions," Ten Hag said of United's transfer business.

"But I'm looking forward to working with the players I have. The season before, this squad was second in the league, so there is huge potential.

"I think if we improve, if we work with them, I think we can get out more than what was the result from this season."

Harry Maguire is in line for a return to action when Manchester United travel to Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League on Saturday, Ralf Rangnick has confirmed.

The United captain has not played since the Red Devils fell to a crushing 4-0 defeat at rivals Liverpool on April 19.

He was only the bench four days later as United lost to Arsenal 3-1, with Rangnick confirming the mental toll of a bomb threat made against Maguire was one reason for leaving him out.

A knee injury then forced him to miss the 1-1 draw with Chelsea and United's 3-0 defeat of Brentford.

United sit sixth in the Premier League table, five points behind fourth-placed Arsenal going in to the final two games of Rangnick's tenure as interim manager.

Maguire has been criticised after playing his part in just seven clean sheets in 35 appearances across all competitions this term but should return at the Amex Stadium, although Rangnick refused to say whether he would start.

Fellow England international Marcus Rashford, however, has been ruled out after suffering from a bout of bronchitis.

"Harry is back in training, he trained the whole week, the second day after the Brentford game he resumed training, so he will be available and will be part of the group," Rangnick told his pre-match press conference.

"This [whether will start Maguire] is a decision I have to make after training today, obviously I don't want to tell our opponents the line-up with which we will start, but he will definitely be part of the group.

"Edinson [Cavani] is in training, obviously he came on as a sub [against Brentford], [but] Marcus Rashford will be missing, he has caught bronchitis, with a high temperature, so he won't be able to be part of the group."

United will defend an excellent head-to-head record against the Seagulls when they travel to the south coast: they have won each of their previous seven games against Brighton in all competitions, their longest ongoing winning run against another current Premier League side.

However, the Red Devils have lost each of their past four away Premier League games, as many as they had in the previous 42 on their travels, making it the club's longest run of consecutive league reverses on the road since a streak of six between December 1980 and March 1981.

However, as Rangnick prepares to make way for Ajax head coach Erik ten Hag and assume a consultancy role at the end of the season, he reiterated his belief that the future is bright at Old Trafford, saying he was pleased to see his players enjoying their football against the Bees last time out.

"In last two home games we got four points, and the Brentford game was one of our best games in the last six months. I'm positive that the team will try to play on the same level tomorrow and in two weeks' time against Crystal Palace," he added.

"Once again, what I liked about the game was you could see they had fun playing together, that they were enjoying themselves on the pitch, and this is exactly the kind of approach we need for tomorrow as well.

"I think it was visible against Brentford, you could see they enjoyed themselves on the pitch. This does not mean everything was perfect, but in possession we were controlling the game.

"With regard to next season, there will be some changes, obviously. There are some players whose contracts are expiring, with new players to join us here, in the end it's also a thing that needs to be discussed with Erik and the board.

"Erik needs to tell the board which players he wants to work with, but I'm positive with the right new players, plus the players that are already here, the pathway could be a very positive one, this is what we will all try to achieve.

"We will definitely speak at the end of the season. Both Erik and myself want to have our full focus on the outstanding games, he has another three games to play and will do everything to try to win the title in the Netherlands.

"We have agreed we will chat and speak about everything at the end of the season."

Ralf Rangnick has suggested incoming Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag puts the Red Devils captaincy to a players' vote, placing doubt over Harry Maguire's role as skipper.

Maguire was named captain following the departure of Ashley Young to Inter in January 2020, just five months after the centre-back's £80 million transfer from Leicester City – the world record fee for a defender.

England international Maguire has come under scrutiny for both his performances and captaincy, with United struggling in the Premier League and out of all cup competitions.

United are sixth in the league and unlikely to qualify for the Champions League, sitting six points behind fourth-placed Arsenal – who defeated Rangnick's side 3-1 on Saturday and have played a game fewer.

The future of Cristiano Ronaldo and seemingly outbound Paul Pogba remains in question, with several more players also out of contract at Old Trafford as Ajax coach Ten Hag prepares for a sizeable rebuilding task.

One of the Dutchman's first tasks will be deciding on the leader in the dressing room, and Rangnick has recommended United players vote on who their next captain should be.

Asked whether Maguire will retain the captain's armband next season, Rangnick told reporters: "Again, I understand your question but again, it doesn't make sense because we don't know what kind of players will be here, what the group will look like.

"I can only tell you what I have done in the past when I was head coach or manager because in Germany it's called 'Mannschaftskapitan' – the captain of the team.

"I strongly believe the captain should be elected by the team because he's called the team manager, and we always did that.

"We always had a board of four or five players – we called it the Spielerrat [players' council] – elected by the players. The player with the highest amount of votes was the team captain at the end. That was how I did it.

"I know a lot of head coaches don't do it that way. That's what I would do if I was still the manager next season but in the end, I'm not. This is something that Erik will have to decide."

Recruitment will also be a key factor for the rejuvenation of United, with Rangnick operating in a consultancy role alongside Ten Hag, who has previously suggested he demands some ruling over transfers.

Rangnick expressed his excitement to work with Ten Hag as the pair look to turn around United's fortunes next season.

"I strongly believe that there are a lot of things that can become better and will become better with a new manager and hopefully with some new players, with some fresh energy in that squad," he added.

"With this group of new players and the quality of players that are already here, together with the new manager, I am very positive that next season will be a lot better.

"I am looking forward to working in that advisory role and obviously helping Erik as much as he wants it himself.

"In my last two clubs, we never a signed a player without the approval of the manager and I'm pretty sure this will be the case with Erik.

"I'm also positive that Erik will make some suggestions, then together with the board, together with the scouting department and possibly myself, we will then hopefully decide the right players.

"Obviously, I am more than willing and prepared to help both Erik and whomever in the club in order to change everything for the better."

However, former RB Leipzig coach Rangnick is yet to speak with the incoming Ten Hag due to the latter's commitments with Ajax.

"[Ten Hag's] focus is on Ajax now and trying to win the title there, my focus for the next few weeks is on our club, on getting the best possible results," the German continued.

"Whenever he has time, or would like to speak, yes I am available, but I would not want to contact him on my own account now."

Cristiano Ronaldo was included in Manchester United line-up for the Red Devils' trip to top-four rivals Arsenal, while captain Harry Maguire was named among the substitutes.

Superstar forward Ronaldo, who is just one goal away from bringing up a career century of Premier League strikes after scoring 15 in the top flight this season, missed Tuesday's 4-0 defeat at Liverpool after announcing the loss of his son on Monday. 

Ronaldo has scored six goals in his last seven appearances against Arsenal in all competitions, including twice in the reverse fixture in December, and a brace on his last visit to the Emirates in May 2009 in the Champions League semi-finals.

Meanwhile, Maguire has been named among the substitutes by caretaker boss Ralf Rangnick. The England defender received a bomb threat to his home this week, with police later confirming no suspicious object was found after a search.

Victor Lindelof and Raphael Varane will partner one another in the heart of the United defence, while Bruno Fernandes has taken the captain's armband in the absence of Maguire.

Marcus Rashford, Phil Jones, and Aaron Wan-Bissaka have also been dropped to the bench after the humiliating loss at Anfield, with Paul Pogba's injury ruling him out entirely as Alex Telles, Jadon Sancho, and Scott McTominay return to Rangnick's XI.

Arsenal, meanwhile, have made just one change from their 4-2 win over Chelsea, introducing Cedric Soares in place of Rob Holding at the back.

United travel to the Emirates three points behind the Gunners in the Premier League table having played one game more, as Rangnick looks to secure Champions League football before making way for Erik ten Hag.

Cheshire Police have carried out a search of Harry Maguire's house after the Manchester United captain received a bomb threat.

Police conducted a sweep of the England centre-back's property, where he lives with his fiancee and two children, on Thursday after he was reportedly threatened via email.

A spokesman for Maguire said: "In the last 24 hours, Harry has received a serious threat to his family home. He has reported this to the police who are now looking into the matter.

"The safety of his family and those around him is obviously Harry's number one priority.

"He will continue to prepare for this weekend's fixture [at Arsenal on Saturday] as normal and we will not be commenting in any further detail at this time."

Maguire was targeted in a week that saw the Red Devils suffer a 4-0 Premier League thrashing at the hands of fierce rivals Liverpool on Thursday.

The 29-year-old defender has endured a difficult season and was booed by England fans during a friendly win over Ivory Coast last month.

United on Thursday confirmed Ajax head coach Erik ten Hag will take over as their new manager at the end of the season.

 

 

Erik ten Hag has been charged with the task of trying to make Manchester United a force again, and he faces a significant rebuilding job.

The Dutchman will leave Ajax at the end of the season to take charge of the Red Devils after agreeing a deal until June 2025, with the option of a further year.

It is not just shaping a squad that has struggled to coalesce this season that will be on his to-do list.

Ten Hag's in-tray will be piled high as he sets about making a short-term impact, while implementing the "long-term vision" that impressed United's hierarchy. 

Stats Perform looks at the pressing issues for the 52-year-old to address.

Change the mentality

A 3-2 win over Norwich City last weekend aside, United have been in poor form and are in danger of ending the season with a whimper.

It was men against boys as the Red Devils were thumped 4-0 at Liverpool on Tuesday and there have been far too many inept displays this season from a side lacking fight and quality.

Interim boss Ralf Rangnick has been unable to get a tune out of an underperforming group of players since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked last November, and a huge shake-up is needed.

Add some steel

United must build solid foundations in a new era under Ten Hag, as they have been far too fragile in another hugely disappointing season.

Ten Hag needs a strong spine in his team, and if he was watching the way Liverpool blew them away at Anfield, he will know United have anything but that at the moment.

United fans will demand winners who will put their body on the line in the heat of battle and there is a real shortage of them in the current squad.

Recruit wisely

Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 21 goals after sensationally rejoining United from Juventus last September, but his signing was surely only ever going to be a short-term fix at best.

Solskjaer certainly appeared to struggle to build a team around the Portugal captain, and it would be no great surprise if the 37-year-old is on the move again.

Regardless of whether Ronaldo stays, Ten Hag will need to be backed in the transfer market and there must be a big overhaul, with Paul Pogba among those expected to depart.

Bring back silverware

There is no plainer objective for the new boss – he will be marked as a success or a failure by the trophies he wins during his time at the helm.

Solskjaer left the club with the third-best win rate in United's history, but he paid the price for a lack of silverware.

United have only been top of the Premier League at the end of a calendar month twice since Alex Ferguson left – in September 2015 and August 2017. It will surely take Ten Hag time to get them challenging for the title again, so he must ensure they make their presence felt in cup competitions.

Consider the captaincy

It has been a season to forget for United captain Harry Maguire.

The Red Devils skipper's talents are clear, as he has shown for club and country, but the centre-back has lost his way at Old Trafford.

The responsibility of leading a struggling side appears to have affected the England defender, and Ten Hag may decide to start his reign by appointing a new captain.

After months of speculation, Manchester United have confirmed Erik ten Hag will take over as the club's new manager at the end of another frustrating season at Old Trafford.

The 52-year-old will have a huge job on his hands when he arrives this summer, with the Red Devils looking unlikely to qualify for the Champions League after struggling under both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick this term.

High up on Ten Hag's to-do list will be deciding who amongst the current squad will be suited to playing his high-pressing, possession-based style of football.

Here, Stats Perform uses Opta-powered data to give an insight into three players who could impress under the Dutchman, and three who may find their days numbered after his arrival…

Who might star under Ten Hag?

Donny Van de Beek

An easy choice. Van de Beek emerged as a star under Ten Hag's tutelage at Ajax, and was a driving force being the Amsterdam giants' terrific run to the Champions League semi-finals in 2018-19. Installed as a creative midfielder alongside Frenkie de Jong, Van de Beek scored three goals and provided two assists during that famous run, with only Dusan Tadic (six) outscoring him for Ajax in the competition.

Having played a paltry 381 minutes for United across 14 appearances this season before being sent on loan to Everton in January, the 25-year-old looks the most obvious player to benefit from the arrival of his former coach

Jadon Sancho

Another player likely to thrive under Ten Hag is England winger Jadon Sancho, who has registered five goals and three assists in 37 appearances in all competitions for the Red Devils since moving from Borussia Dortmund last summer.

Only Bruno Fernandes (98) has created more open-play chances for United this term than Sancho (47), and he definitely stands to benefit from the arrival of a coach whose teams play with genuine width.

Each of Tadic (15), Antony (12), and Steven Berghuis (11) have reached double figures for Eredivisie goals for Ajax this term, so their former coach could be the man to get the best of the England man.

Luke Shaw

Ten Hag's Ajax team deployed their full-backs as a key attacking threat, with Argentine left-back Nicolas Tagliafico netting three goals during 2018-19's Champions League run.

Amongst Premier League defenders, only Trent Alexander-Arnold created more than the 72 chances crafted by Red Devils left-back Shaw during the 2020-21 season, and the England man could rediscover that form if unleashed by United's new boss.

Who might see their position threatened?

Harry Maguire 

The United skipper has faced much criticism for his role in another poor campaign for the Red Devils, and could be the first big-name casualty of Ten Hag's attempts to install a more progressive style of play.

No United defender has made as many errors leading to shots as Maguire in the Premier League this term (three), while his passing accuracy of 86.37 per cent is marginally lower than those of fellow defenders Raphael Varane (87.47) and Victor Lindelof (86.63), potentially marking out the England man as ripe for a replacement.

David De Gea

When another possession-hungry coach arrived in Manchester back in 2016, one of his first moves involved finding a goalkeeper he could trust to participate as his team tried to build from the back.

That man, of course, was Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, and Ten Hag could look to replicate his acquisition of Ederson by replacing De Gea. The Spaniard has recorded a pass accuracy of just 68.81 per cent in the Premier League this season, way short of elite rivals Ederson (88.35) and Allison (85.22).

Cristiano Ronaldo

Hear us out on this one. The legendary striker's goalscoring prowess remains unrivalled, and his 21 goals in all competitions since returning to Old Trafford last summer put him a long way clear of his nearest team-mate (Bruno Fernandes with nine).

However, the height of Ten Hag's success at Ajax came with Tadic used as a false nine in 2018-19, recording 10 goal involvements (six goals, four assists) during their thrilling European run. 

Besides, with Ronaldo's 140 strikes placing him at the top of the Champions League's all-time top goalscoring charts, can the 37-year-old really be expected to forgo playing in European football's premier competition if United fail to qualify? If not, a potentially tough decision regarding his future could be taken out of Ten Hag's hands.

After months of speculation, Manchester United have confirmed Erik ten Hag will take over as the club's new manager at the end of another frustrating season at Old Trafford.

The 52-year-old will have a huge job on his hands when he arrives this summer, with the Red Devils looking unlikely to qualify for the Champions League after struggling under both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick this term.

High up on Ten Hag's to-do list will be deciding who amongst the current squad will be suited to playing his high-pressing, possession-based style of football.

Here, Stats Perform uses Opta-powered data to give an insight into three players who could impress under the Dutchman, and three who may find their days numbered after his arrival…

Who might star under Ten Hag?

Donny Van de Beek

An easy choice. Van de Beek emerged as a star under Ten Hag's tutelage at Ajax, and was a driving force being the Amsterdam giants' terrific run to the Champions League semi-finals in 2018-19. Installed as a creative midfielder alongside Frenkie de Jong, Van de Beek scored three goals and provided two assists during that famous run, with only Dusan Tadic (six) outscoring him for Ajax in the competition.

Having played a paltry 381 minutes for United across 14 appearances this season before being sent on loan to Everton in January, the 25-year-old looks the most obvious player to benefit from the arrival of his former coach

Jadon Sancho

Another player likely to thrive under Ten Hag is England winger Jadon Sancho, who has registered five goals and three assists in 37 appearances in all competitions for the Red Devils since moving from Borussia Dortmund last summer.

Only Bruno Fernandes (98) has created more open-play chances for United this term than Sancho (47), and he definitely stands to benefit from the arrival of a coach whose teams play with genuine width.

Each of Tadic (15), Antony (12), and Steven Berghuis (11) have reached double figures for Eredivisie goals for Ajax this term, so their former coach could be the man to get the best of the England man.

Luke Shaw

Ten Hag's Ajax team deployed their full-backs as a key attacking threat, with Argentine left-back Nicolas Tagliafico netting three goals during 2018-19's Champions League run.

Amongst Premier League defenders, only Trent Alexander-Arnold created more than the 72 chances crafted by Red Devils left-back Shaw during the 2020-21 season, and the England man could rediscover that form if unleashed by United's new boss.

Who might see their position threatened?

Harry Maguire 

The United skipper has faced much criticism for his role in another poor campaign for the Red Devils, and could be the first big-name casualty of Ten Hag's attempts to install a more progressive style of play.

No United defender has made as many errors leading to shots as Maguire in the Premier League this term (three), while his passing accuracy of 86.37 per cent is marginally lower than those of fellow defenders Raphael Varane (87.47) and Victor Lindelof (86.63), potentially marking out the England man as ripe for a replacement.

David De Gea

When another possession-hungry coach arrived in Manchester back in 2016, one of his first moves involved finding a goalkeeper he could trust to participate as his team tried to build from the back.

That man, of course, was Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, and Ten Hag could look to replicate his acquisition of Ederson by replacing De Gea. The Spaniard has recorded a pass accuracy of just 68.81 per cent in the Premier League this season, way short of elite rivals Ederson (88.35) and Allison (85.22).

Cristiano Ronaldo

Hear us out on this one. The legendary striker's goalscoring prowess remains unrivalled, and his 21 goals in all competitions since returning to Old Trafford last summer put him a long way clear of his nearest team-mate (Bruno Fernandes with nine).

However, the height of Ten Hag's success at Ajax came with Tadic used as a false nine in 2018-19, recording 10 goal involvements (six goals, four assists) during their thrilling European run. 

Besides, with Ronaldo's 140 strikes placing him at the top of the Champions League's all-time top goalscoring charts, can the 37-year-old really be expected to forgo playing in European football's premier competition if United fail to qualify? If not, a potentially tough decision regarding his future could be taken out of Ten Hag's hands.

Marcus Rashford "played like a child" in Manchester United's defeat to Liverpool on Tuesday, according to a despairing Roy Keane. 

A toothless United succumbed to a 4-0 defeat at Anfield that enabled rivals Liverpool, who are still chasing an unprecedented quadruple, to go top of the Premier League. 

Luis Diaz and Mohamed Salah put Jurgen Klopp's side in command as the Red Devils produced an abject first-half display in which they failed to attempt a single shot. That had not happened in the top flight since a 3-2 win over Manchester City in April 2018.

Rashford managed just nine touches in the opening period and had only two in Liverpool's box across the entire 90 minutes, with Sadio Mane and a second from Salah consigning United to a resounding loss.

"It was anger earlier in the season, now it's just sadness. You look at the team today, I don't think there's any heart there. There's no soul, there's no leaders. They lack real quality, they're so far off," Keane said working as a pundit for Sky Sports. 

"There's disarray at the club from the top. The fans have no time for the owners. They need a new manager, they need players in, they need players out. 

"It's so sad to see. It's not the club I played for. It doesn't reflect what the club stood for when I played, it's chalk and cheese. I don't see a Man United team out there fighting and playing with pride. It's so sad watching this team. 

"They're the opposite of what you'd want in a top team. When the going gets tough, they just crumble. It's a long way back for this club. When I played there was always that bit of pride. I think that's gone out of the club now. 

"There's no team at Man United. Some good individuals when they turn up and they fancy it, but when the going gets tough or they're under the cosh, that's it, they're out of it. They haven't got that team spirit that you need.

Paul Pogba – who was booed by his own fans during the 3-2 win against Norwich City at the weekend – came off injured early in the game at Anfield, replaced by Jesse Lingard, and Keane was not impressed by the sub.

"Jesse Lingard's coming on to try to save Man United? Jesse Lingard should've left Man United two years ago. He's not good enough for Man United," he said.

"Marcus Rashford played like a child up front. OK, he wasn't getting service, but the one or two bits he got in the first half, a poor touch.

"Harry Maguire – the last goal – his passing and defending was unacceptable, not good enough for Manchester United.

"So we have to use that word again, talk about a rebuilding job. Man United have to get players in first of all who are hopefully decent lads, good-quality pros, talented to try to compete. United are sixth in the league – unbelievable." 

Harry Maguire insists revenge for a 5-0 hammering by Liverpool will be Manchester United's motivation, not the damage they can do to the quadruple hopes of Jurgen Klopp's side.

Mohamed Salah scored a hat-trick as a rampant Liverpool breezed past United at Old Trafford in October, contributing to the sacking of club legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the following month.

Liverpool have since lifted the EFL Cup, reached the FA Cup final by defeating Premier League leaders Manchester City, who they trail by one point in the league, and are in the Champions League last four against Villarreal.

Klopp's team have repeatedly quashed talks of the quadruple but could take another giant step towards an unprecedented achievement if they defeat Ralf Rangnick's side at Anfield on Tuesday.

That would leave them two points clear of Pep Guardiola's City, but United captain Maguire believes hampering Liverpool's quadruple hopes is not the main focus for the visitors.

"I don't think that's part of our motivation, to be honest," he said to Sky Sports.

"I think the motivation is going to Anfield, playing against Liverpool and winning a football match and getting three points for this club and the fans.

"The fans have stuck with us throughout this season, they turn up in their numbers wherever they go, they've been amazing in such a difficult season.

"For us to go to Anfield, perform well and get the three points, it would be a huge moment for us to give to the fans. So I think that's the big motivation for us."

Liverpool laid down a marker with their 5-0 thrashing at United, but performances since have further displayed the opposite trajectories of the two clubs, with 19 points separating them in the Premier League.

United could still qualify for the Champions League, though, sitting just three points behind fourth-placed Tottenham and level with fellow top-four chasers Arsenal, who have played a game fewer.

And Maguire wants his team to set the record straight when they head to their fierce rivals in a bid to boost their European hopes.

"That was such a low point, the lowest point of the season, one of the lowest points of my career, and I'm sure the rest of the lads', without international football involved in that," he said of the 5-0 defeat.

"You don't need motivation to play in these games. It's such a big rivalry, when you join this club you know the rivalry, it's one of the biggest in the world.

"It's a game we've got to look forward to. We know we're going to have to play at our best to get something, and that's what we've got to prepare for."

Rio Ferdinand has defended Harry Maguire's Manchester United form, with the ex-England man comparing his struggles to those of Gerard Pique when he played for the club.

The centre-back became the most expensive defender in history when he arrived at Old Trafford from Leicester City in 2019.

Yet he has struggled to replicate the form he has enjoyed for Gareth Southgate's Three Lions since his capture, particularly during a dismal 2021-22 campaign.

Ferdinand has backed the United captain however, pointing to the combination of differing styles between club and country that may have left him shortchanged at the Red Devils.

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

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

Ferdinand pointed to Barcelona stalwart Pique, who emerged as one of the game's modern greats after leaving Manchester for Camp Nou, to reinforce his suggestion about adapting to the game.

"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," he added.

"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 [there is] also form and confidence. His confidence has taken a big knock.

"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's form has not seen him dropped from the international set-up however, unlike team-mates Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho, both of whom were left out by England in March.

Even without a reversal of fortunes, the centre-back will be expected to feature heavily for the Three Lions when they head to the Qatar 2022 World Cup at the end of the year.

Nemanja Vidic has urged Manchester United interim boss Ralf Rangnick to drop Harry Maguire temporarily to allow the centre-back to regain his confidence.

Maguire joined from Leicester City for £80million in 2019 but has come under scrutiny during his time at Old Trafford, especially this season with United struggling.

Rangnick's side succumbed to a 1-0 Premier League loss at lowly Everton on Saturday, with Anthony Gordon's drive deflecting off Maguire and past David De Gea to leave the Red Devils six points behind fourth-placed Tottenham.

United look set to miss out on a Champions League spot and Rangnick's 47 per cent win rate is the worst of any Red Devils manager in Premier League history.

Maguire has taken plenty of criticism for such an underwhelming campaign and former United centre-back Vidic believes Rangnick must protect his defender.

"Every player has a problem with form at some time in his career," Vidic, who played for United between 2006 and 2014, told The Athletic. "I did and it's clear that Maguire is not at his best this season.

"I think you can do a few things and one of them is not to play every match as you try to find form again and get confidence.

"A coach could play him in easier games, not that there are many in the Premier League, and take him out for harder matches. The player needs to feel powerful and strong on the pitch again, not as it is now where he feels that it's not happening for him.

"It's difficult to play well when you're under so much pressure because people are waiting for you to make a mistake. You're asking me this and I'm replying as a coach."

Only De Gea (31) and Bruno Fernandes (29) have appeared more times for United in the league this season than Maguire (26).

The England international has also committed the joint-most errors leading to a goal for his side (one – level with De Gea and Luke Shaw) and the joint-most leading to a shot (three along with Jadon Sancho and Nemanja Matic).

Vidic insists that if Maguire requires some time off, Rangnick would grant his request with no questions asked.

"It's not a problem if a player says to his coach that he's not feeling great on the pitch," he added.

"If he says: 'Give me a break, give me a couple of weeks to regroup and train well and then play again'. I had some horrible games for United and needed to find my peace and grow again.”

Cristiano Ronaldo should replace Harry Maguire as Manchester United captain, according to Bayern Munich defender Alphonso Davies.

A video surfaced on YouTube of the Canada international making the astonishing assessment while playing FIFA 22 on streaming service Twitch.

Maguire has found himself a scapegoat during another difficult season for United, who are seventh in the Premier League and three points behind Tottenham in fourth.

Following several below-par performances and high-profile mistakes, the England international was also booed by sections of the Wembley crowd during the Three Lions' recent friendly against Ivory Coast.

Many have questioned the decision to hand the defender the armband over Ronaldo, who returned to Old Trafford from Juventus last August.

And Davies followed suit during a mini rant when acquiring Maguire in a pack on the Ultimate Team game mode.

Turning down his music, the Bayern defender said: "Can you guys imagine?! Can you guys imagine?!

"You're Ronaldo; one of the greatest players ever. And what's his name is your captain? Harry Maguire is your captain?!

"And you refer to him as 'yes cap' – I don't know what he says to him. 

"I'm not dissing Harry Maguire, but Ronaldo should get the armband."

Wayne Rooney believes Cristiano Ronaldo's return to Manchester United has not worked out, and suggested his former club concentrate on "young and hungry" players in future.

The duo played together to great success during Ronaldo's first stint with the Red Devils, winning three Premier League titles and a Champions League in the same team.

However, despite the 37-year-old scoring 18 goals in 32 games since returning to Old Trafford, United have had a season to forget.

The club are out of all cup competitions and sit seventh in the Premier League after a 1-1 draw against Leicester City on Saturday.

Speaking as a guest on Sky Sports' Monday Night Football, Rooney was asked if he agreed with fellow pundit Jamie Carragher's assertion that Ronaldo's signing had been a mistake.

When asked, 'Has it worked?', Rooney replied: "You'd have to say no, at the minute.

"He's scored goals, important goals in the Champions League early on in the season.

"He's scored the hat-trick against Tottenham, but I think if you're looking to the future of the club, you have to go with younger, hungry players to lift Manchester United over these next two to three years.

"Obviously Cristiano is getting on a bit, he certainly isn't the player he was when he was in his 20s, and that happens, that's football.

"He's a goal threat, but the rest of his game, I think they need more. I think they need young, hungry players."

The Derby County manager was also asked about United captain Harry Maguire, whose form has been heavily questioned this season.

"I like Harry, I know Harry personally," Rooney said. "He hasn't been in his best form this season, like a lot of players haven't.

"And then you look at England - he goes to play for England and he looks like a world-class centre back.

"A lot of it is confidence, I think the players need to feel winning again, to feel winning consistently to get that confidence back and if they do that, I think Harry Maguire is a big part of it."

Ralf Rangnick labelled Harry Maguire's performance in Manchester United's 1-1 draw with Leicester City "flawless" after the defender was booed while playing for England, as Bruno Fernandes suggested the media were partly responsible.

Interim United manager Rangnick also praised the reception given to Maguire by the Old Trafford faithful, with the 29-year-old having been booed during England's friendly against Ivory Coast on Tuesday.

Maguire has attracted criticism for his displays in a United defence that has kept just seven Premier League clean sheets this season, a tally worse than nine other top-flight sides.

Rangnick, however, was impressed with Maguire's solid display against his former team on Saturday.

"The reaction of our supporters [to Maguire] was as it always is," Rangnick told Sky Sports.

"They are one of the best [fanbases], if not the best, in England. 

"Harry played well, he had a flawless game today both defensively and offensively. It was a solid performance from him."

Midfielder Fernandes came to his team-mate's defence, claiming the media's coverage of Maguire's displays could have contributed to the jeers heard at Wembley.

"It's tough that your own country boos you in a game for the national team," Fernandes told Sky Sports. "It's maybe because of the media. 

"It wasn't because of his performance, he played really well in that game. Sometimes the media should think a little bit more when they do things."

Maguire's display may have been perfect in the eyes of Rangnick, but it did not help United claim three much-needed points against Leicester.

Kelechi Iheanacho opened the scoring for the visitors before Fred equalised, though VAR spared United's blushes when James Maddison had a goal disallowed in a game that ultimately finished 1-1.

United have won just one of their last six games in all competitions and are three points behind fourth-placed Arsenal having played two games more.

Rangnick's team are also winless in their last four league meetings with Leicester, having won seven of the previous eight.

Though their chances of securing Champions League qualification look slim, with West Ham, Arsenal and Tottenham all still to play, Rangnick has pledged to fight hard.

"The second half was the better one," he said. "I think for most of the first half we were struggling to find our rhythm, maybe because of the long [international] break.

"The second half was better, but giving a goal away on a transitional moment didn't make it easy.

"I think the reaction after the goal we conceded was good, we came back and scored a goal, then had two or three good moments where we could have scored the winning goal, but we didn't.

"In the end we are not happy with the result, but the second half was okay.

"As long as it [fourth place] is possible mathematically, it is possible. It is our job and duty to do our best to finish on the best possible note."

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