Rio Ferdinand thinks Harry Maguire could become a much better player for Man Utd if they “play a particular way of football” that suits the England international.
Maguire has come in for a lot of criticism this season with the centre-back under more scrutiny than any of his team-mates despite their collective poor performances.
Weirdly, the Man Utd captain’s name was jeered at Wembley when the players’ names were read out ahead of their 3-0 victory over Ivory Coast last month.
Maguire has been brilliant in an England shirt, helping the Three Lions to a Euro 2020 final appearance last summer and becoming one of the first names on the teamsheet under Gareth Southgate.
And Ferdinand has likened Maguire’s situation to that of Gerard Pique’s when he was at Man Utd before the centre-back left Old Trafford and went on to win numerous trophies with Barcelona.
“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,” Ferdinand said on his Vibe with FIVE YouTube channel.
“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.”
Their 1-0 loss to Everton on Saturday now means Man Utd are six points adrift of fourth-placed Tottenham with seven matches of the season remaining.
When asked if he spoke to former England team-mate Frank Lampard – who is now Everton boss – before the match, Ferdinand replied: “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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