Rio Ferdinand believes it was a mistake to name Harry Maguire captain so soon after his arrival at Manchester United – believing David de Gea would have been a better choice.
Maguire replaced Ashley Young as United skipper in January 2020, less than six months after his arrival at Old Trafford from Leicester City for £80million.
The England international has endured widespread criticism from fans and pundits alike during a troubled campaign, with United keeping just four Premier League clean sheets with the captain in the side this season.
Sections of United’s fanbase have called for Maguire to be dropped from the starting XI, with the centre-half coming under fire again against Newcastle United and Burnley this week.
Injuries and Covid for Raphael Varane and Victor Lindelof respectively have made that process difficult, Ferdinand believes, while also suggesting the armband makes it difficult for Ralf Rangnick to leave him on the bench.
‘It’s a hard enough job coming into Manchester United, getting your feet under the table and stating to feel comfortable as it as without the added pressure of being captain.
‘Being captain is a massive responsibility, there is history that goes with it, a big weight on your shoulders.
‘You need to experience being there for a period of time to carry that weight. It was more important for Maguire to come in and concentrate on becoming a Manchester United mainstay than being captain.’
Goalkeeper de Gea is United’s longest current serving player along with Phil Jones and was part of the side that last won the Premier League title in 2013.
Ferdinand believes the Spain international would have been a better option and suggests the club failed to anticipate the current problems Maguire is experiencing.
‘The thing you can counter that with, is that there weren’t many captains at the club, who else are they going to pick?
‘David de Gea would have been my choice because of the time he’s been there and he knows what it takes to win.
‘This is all with hindsight but you have to got to think about these times that might come with someone like Harry Maguire, new at the club in that sense. And that added pressure is weighing on him heavily at the moment.’