Manchester United captain Harry Maguire has been facing increasing scrutiny in recent weeks, with reports that he could be stripped as captain before the end of the season
Sir Alex Ferguson is in no doubt over the qualities a Manchester United captain must possess as the debate over the latest skipper rumbles on.
Calls to strip Harry Maguire of the armband have been raised in recent weeks, amid reports that Cristiano Ronaldo could be waiting in the wings to replace him.
The speculation over a change of captain has come about due to a run of poor form for Maguire going into the game with Leeds United at Elland Road on Sunday.
The central defender went into that clash with the backing of interim boss Ralf Rangnick, who confirmed he had held no talks about a change of captain.
“I have never spoken with any player about a change of captaincy. This has never been an issue. It is me who decides who is captain,” he explained, ahead of the win over Leeds.
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“Harry is our captain and he will stay captain until the end of the season.”
Rangnick’s endorsement helped spark an improved performance from Maguire, who also scored during the thrilling 4-2 win in Yorkshire.
That showing may quieten any immediate pressure, but further discussions appear only one more bad performance away, with former United defender Paul Parker urging Rangnick to take the armband away from him.
“I don’t think Harry Maguire should be captain of Manchester United,” Parker told Betfred last week. “I think he’s got too much going on in his own game to worry about rather than trying to lead a team which he’d only just joined and in a few seconds gets the captaincy.
“I think that was more off of his price tag rather than the side of him as a person, as a leader of men.”
Ferguson knows a thing or two about picking a United captain, with five of his choices lifting Premier League titles during his legendary reign.
Steve Bruce, Eric Cantona, Roy Keane, Gary Neville and Nemanja Vidic were all title winners, but when asked to select his greatest captain, he went for ‘Captain Marvel’ himself Bryan Robson.
The midfielder held the position for 12 years between 1982 and 1994 and Ferguson claimed he was “easily the best” he had during his stint in the dugout.
Speaking at a 2021 Q&A for a film about the ex-England international, the Scot explained just what put Robbo above the rest.
“The players loved him,” he began. “They responded to him and he was the longest-serving captain in my time anyway.
“It’s difficult for a captain because sometimes he has to tell the truth to players, you know? The encouragement he’s got to give them sometimes can be quite volatile and he was like that, but the players did love him.
“They appreciated the time he took on them and another thing, he’s the only captain I knew who could make a decision on the pitch. He didn’t need to look over to me.
“He would do that and that’s unusual. In fact it’s very unusual because he had the balls to do that.”