It was a season to forget for Manchester United and the players, especially for club captain Harry Maguire. The club conceded the most number of goals in their history, with Maguire culpable for quite a lot of them. Ahead of a brand new era under the stewardship of Erik ten Hag, former United skipper Mikael Silvestre has asked the England international to relinquish his armband and focus on improving his personal form.
The former Leicester City man was just not at the races throughout the course of the season. While blame should be equally divided among his defensive colleagues, the skipper’s role is to lead by example. But the England captain could never really get going.
“It is a double challenge. Because before being a captain, you need to be a technical leader – and that means playing at your best.
Leadership comes second. But I think he is aware of his situation and he knows exactly where he is in terms of his performances, so hopefully a good break mentally, with a new manager and a new dynamic, that will help him to go back to his best,” former United left-back Silvestre was quoted as saying by Express.
Maguire looked off the pace, committed far too many errors and was frequently caught out of position. His dire performance against Watford, which saw him receive a red card, ultimately ended Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s stint as permanent manager.
Even under interim boss Ralf Rangnick, his performances were poor and he was even dropped for the match against Arsenal. Not what he had envisaged after a fairly successful couple of years as a Red Devil.
🗣 "I wouldn't be playing every game for Manchester United in the starting eleven if I'd been playing bad every game. There's a reason why both managers have put me in the starting eleven every game."
Harry Maguire defends his performances after the criticisms he has received pic.twitter.com/1DDeiClKyG
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) April 19, 2022
Fans of the club and the national team have booed him on occasions. From a club supporter’s point of view, his massive £80 million price tag has not helped matters. He was expected to be almost invulnerable, almost in the mould of a Virgil Van Dijk and Nemanja Vidic. His tone deaf interview with Sky Sports, wherein he referred to his performances as good, was also universally criticised by fans and pundits alike.
Silvestre feels he should try and forget what social media and the press have written about him and just go back to basics. “For Harry I would say the most important thing would be to get back to basics and become again a very, very good defender.”
The former Sheffield United star’s confidence will have been boosted by new manager Ten Hag’s comments on how he is looking forward to working with him and feels he is a great player.
I think he did a great job,” United boss had said after being unveiled as the new manager. “He’s a great player, he’s achieved already a lot really also [with his] contribution to Manchester United. So I’m looking forward to working with him.”
The former French international has suggested that the quickest way the current United skipper can get back to his best is to leave his current role which is weighing heavy on his mind and just play his natural game.
The former Arsenal defender also pointed out that the English media had a habit of unnecessary brouhaha over the issue of captaincy unlike other countries. The United squad have other leaders already in place which should help facilitate such a move if Ten Hag saw fit.
“We make a lot, especially in England, of who is captain of the team or not,” he said. “I don’t know why there is so much focus on that, because when you have Cristiano Ronaldo, David de Gea and Bruno Fernandes, you have several ‘captains’ in terms of material. So it does not really matter.”