Harry Maguire feels strained by Manchester United’s leadership

Manchester United vs. Liverpool - Premier League

Harry Maguire has suffered a dramatic loss of form (Photo by Alex Livesey – Danehouse / Getty Images)

The burden of leading Manchester United through such turbulent times weighs heavily on Harry Maguire and partly explains the defender’s dramatic loss of form, sources have said Metro.co.uk.

Maguire has struggled since returning from an injury last month and looks like a shadow of the central defense that made United the most expensive ever in 2019 following a £ 80million move from Leicester City.

The 28-year-old was far away from the pace of the recent heavy defeat against his old club and was ripped apart by Mohamed Salah during Liverpool’s 5-0 record win at Old Trafford.

Maguire was again to blame for Atalanta’s second goal in a 2-2 draw in Italy on Tuesday night, where he played Duvan Zapata inside before making a ruthless and unsuccessful outing against the Colombian before shooting past David De Gea.

Many have questioned whether fitness problems have hampered Maguire’s performance during this period, especially as the defender missed the end of last season and rushed back to play for England at the European Championships.

Harry Maguire was to blame for Atalanta's second goal in yesterday's 2-2 draw

Harry Maguire was to blame for Atalanta’s second goal in yesterday’s 2-2 draw (Image: Getty)

However, sources have said Metro.co.uk that Maguire is not plagued by any long-term injury, nor does he play through the pain barrier at a time when Ole Gunnar Solskjær is in desperate need of results. The defender has continued to train as usual and has not required a tailor-made program.

Instead, there is a feeling in parts of Carrington that Maguire is struggling with the pressure of being club captain and feels a responsibility for the team’s poor start to the season.

Maguire was named captain after Ashley Young’s departure in January 2020, and the decision came less than six months after the defender completed his transfer to United.

The move was met with raised eyebrows by some parts of United’s locker room, as Maguire had not even finished his debut season at the Theater of Dreams and was selected in front of more experienced members of the troupe.

Maguire has welcomed the leadership and is a largely respected figure, but the focus on his position has increased in recent weeks following his poor performances and the club’s demoralizing results.

The presence of Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo has increased the focus on Harry Maguire in his role as Man Utd captain (Image: Getty)

The defender has therefore struggled to convince the entire locker room of his suitability for the role, and there is a feeling that his job has become even more difficult with the arrival of league winners Cristiano Ronaldo and Raphael Varane.

Maguire chose United over Manchester City in 2019, admitting he was attracted to the idea of ​​returning the Red Devils to their former glories. But the team he is part of today is unrecognizable from what Maguire came to just over two years ago, when Solskjær filled his team with top talent.

That means there is even more pressure on Maguire to lead a team with so many great personalities, and Roy Keane criticized the defender for his ‘robotic’ response to the 5-0 humiliation to Liverpool last month.

“What Man United have always had over the years, no matter the talented players, they had players with character and personalities,” Keane told Sky Sports. ‘I do not see it in this group.

‘I heard Maguire talk during the week, he was like a robot. He was like [adopts English accent]: “Oh, uh, sorry to the fans.” There is no emotion behind it. ‘

Maguire’s matches have come against the backdrop of a hangover from the European Championships, where the normally commanding midfielder was one of England’s best players when Gareth Southgate’s team finished in second place.

The former Hull City defender missed the Europa League final at the end of last season and only returned to fitness for the Three Lions’ last group game.

In fact, only 33 days passed between Maguire, who played 120 minutes in the penalty shootout defeat to Italy at Wembley and the 5-1 win over Leeds in the opening weekend of the Premier League season.

United have closed 15 times in ten league games during this period, and Maguire has not been helped by the absence of a consistent central defensive partner or by Solskjær’s lack of balance in the rest of the team.

With Varane set for another stay on the sidelines and Victor Lindelof fighting for fitness, Maguire will likely be put together with Eric Bailly for Saturday’s Manchester derby.

Solskjær has been reluctant to take his captain out of his starting XI in recent weeks, believing that Maguire can play his way through his poor form. There is very little to suggest that is the case so far, but he hopes he can start against City this weekend.

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MORE: Atalanta boss Gian Piero Gasperini reveals what he said to Cristiano Ronaldo after the late Manchester United equalizer

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