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Who should be Manchester United’s next captain under Erik ten Hag?


As Erik ten Hag settles all the way down to the unenviable process of reviving Manchester United, it seems completely nothing is about in stone.

With an inflow of summer time arrivals probably and an entire lot of deadwood being cleared out, there may properly be a really totally different complexion to the staff come the beginning of the season.

And it additionally appears that Harry Maguire is on no account assured of carrying the captain’s armband for the marketing campaign forward.

Harry Maguire could be stripped of the Manchester United captaincy after a tricky year

Harry Maguire could possibly be stripped of the Manchester United captaincy after a difficult yr

Erik ten Hag has come in as United's new manager and could introduce some drastic changes

Erik ten Hag has are available in as United’s new supervisor and will introduce some drastic modifications

As Sportsmail reported this week, United will hold the England worldwide centre-back however he may properly be relieved of the accountability of main the facet.

It comes after a distinctly shaky 2021-22 season through which Maguire’s management and defensive qualities have been repeatedly known as into query.

He gave the impression to be profoundly affected by England’s penalty shoot-out loss to Italy within the closing of the European Championship and his beforehand stellar kind has collapsed.

Whether or not below the doomed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer or the interim cost (and equally-doomed tenure) of Ralf Rangnick, the staff appeared susceptible on the again and loads of opponents took full benefit.

But when not captain Maguire, then who? We study the candidates to take over the United captaincy, in addition to the case for Maguire carrying on…


As United’s season lurched from one catastrophe to a different final season, there was loads of hypothesis that Ronaldo would change the under-performing Maguire as skipper.

Even on the age of 37, the Portuguese star confirmed he can nonetheless lower it and ended up as United’s main goalscorer with 24 after making a romantic return to Outdated Trafford.

Assuming he’s prepared to remain following United’s failure to qualify for subsequent season’s Champions League, he would in all probability be the apparent particular person to toss the armband to.

Cristiano Ronaldo rallied the troops when he was United captain for the game against Wolves

Cristiano Ronaldo rallied the troops when he was United captain for the sport in opposition to Wolves

For one factor, Ronaldo has captained his nation for properly over a decade and so absolutely understands the distinctive pressures and tasks of such a place.

Bear in mind when he hobbled off early within the Euro 2016 closing with France solely to then successfully take cost of the staff from the sidelines?

He served as stand-in captain when United performed Wolves again in January and is actually in no matter senior management group Ralf Rangnick had.

Throughout his first spell at Outdated Trafford, after captaining the staff in a March 2008 match in opposition to Bolton, Ronaldo mentioned: ‘It is all the time good to be captain of this huge membership.

Ronaldo has worn the armband for his country Portugal for over a decade now

Ronaldo has worn the armband for his nation Portugal for over a decade now 

‘For me, it is an honour, a pleasure. However my accountability continues to be the identical. Not as a result of I am captain do I modify my sport, my character.’

Even then, Ronaldo was completely unfazed by the added burden on his shoulders. Given what he has achieved within the sport since, he will surely put on the armband frivolously now.

That character additionally lends itself naturally to being a pacesetter of males. Ronaldo leads the dressing room by instance by the depth of his coaching and the way in which he takes care of himself.

Ten Hag may use him to set an instance to the youthful gamers in his squad and to set the best requirements of professionalism across the membership.

Ronaldo's goals rescued United from a far worse season and he would lead by example

Ronaldo’s targets rescued United from a far worse season and he would lead by instance

We already heard what number of of Ronaldo’s team-mates began declining a dessert after their meals within the membership canteen – simply because he did.

The disadvantage, after all, is there can be an absence of continuity. Ronaldo could have one other yr on his United contract, plus the choice of one other one, however he is not going to be round eternally and one other captain must be appointed.


The Spanish goalkeeper was one of many few United gamers to emerge with any credit score following their shambles of a season – a press release it feels has been written a number of instances over the previous few years.

De Gea was voted United’s Gamers’ Participant of the Yr final season for the fourth time, certainly an acknowledgment by his team-mates of what number of instances he bailed them out with world-class saves.

He would positively be captain materials, holding the respect of each the gamers and supporters. He is additionally one of many longest-serving within the dressing room, having signed in 2011, and regardless of all these nearly-moves to Actual Madrid, you possibly can’t actually query his dedication now.

David de Gea was brutally honest about United's many shortcomings during 2021-22

David de Gea was brutally sincere about United’s many shortcomings throughout 2021-22 

The Spanish keeper was let down by his leaky backline on far too many occasions last season

The Spanish keeper was let down by his leaky backline on far too many events final season

It is why when De Gea says he feels ’embarrassed’ and ‘horrible’ when United are four-nil all the way down to Brighton, you already know his feedback come from the guts.

His brutal honesty about United’s low ebb final season was refreshing and in distinction to the uninteresting platitudes put out by many gamers.

You sense De Gea, one of many few within the dressing room to have gained a Premier League title with United, is basically feeling the ache after they barely scrape right into a Europa League spot.

There’s a faculty of thought that keepers should not be captains, a sense that the character of their positions means they cannot affect issues as a lot on the pitch.

However given how De Gea has rescued this facet from better embarrassment so typically, and the way his affection for the membership is real, he would not be a nasty alternative.


Deserves consideration as the primary artistic affect of the United facet and, due to this fact, a participant of significance and seniority.

Fernandes, by his sky-high requirements, endured a irritating 2021-22 season and the abiding picture is of him flapping his arms in exasperation as attacking strikes broke down, or remonstrating with a team-mate or the officers.

Nonetheless, the Portuguese scored 10 targets and contributed an extra 14 assists and although these figures have been decrease than his earlier campaigns for United, he’s arguably a sufferer of his personal success.

Bruno Fernandes took the captain's armband when Maguire was unavailable last season

Bruno Fernandes took the captain’s armband when Maguire was unavailable final season

His management credentials are proven by the actual fact he performed just about each sport for United and is thought to be one of many first names on the team-sheet.

He was additionally vice-captain and so took the armband when Maguire was unavailable, as he did in 11 matches for United final season. So going by the hierarchy, it ought to actually be Fernandes if it is not Maguire.

Fernandes actually would have the ability to affect the result of matches – and in a substantial approach – however you possibly can argue that the burden of the everlasting captaincy could possibly be a distraction from what he does finest.

Fernandes cut a frustrated and often tetchy figure during a disappointing season for United

Fernandes lower a pissed off and infrequently tetchy determine throughout a disappointing season for United

Would the concern of better criticism stifle him with regards to enjoying these trademark passes that possibly solely come off 25 per cent of the time however are spectacularly efficient after they do?

Possibly if United can herald one other midfielder so Fernandes may share the artistic load – they’ve been linked with Christian Eriksen – then he may take over the armband.

Little question Fernandes can be prepared to do the job.


If you are going to go down the homegrown route with regards to the following captain, midfielder McTominay can be the obvious choose.

The Scot is a grafter and you may not often fault his dedication to the trigger, plus United have had the likes of Bryan Robson, Roy Keane and Michael Carrick lead the staff from midfield previously.

However it’s on no account assured that McTominay will play as many matches within the season forward as in latest campaigns.

Midfielder Scott McTominay could be a homegrown option to take over as United captain

Midfielder Scott McTominay could possibly be a homegrown choice to take over as United captain

It is hardly the best endorsement that Ten Hag is prioritising an improve on McTominay within the defensive midfield place and desires Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong, a participant he is aware of properly.

If United do attain an accord with Barcelona for the Dutchman, and it may properly value them £70million, then he will play in that position.

Ten Hag could play two holding gamers in sure video games, so McTominay would compete with Fred for the opposite place, however he has been identified to play a ‘double 8’ and one anchor behind them.

De Jong is the much better ball-player compared to McTominay and so is more likely to be chosen. The actual fact McTominay in all probability will not be enjoying as typically would are likely to rule him out of being captain.

But Ten Hag's pursuit of Dutch midfielder Frenkie de Jong may limit McTominay's game-time

However Ten Hag’s pursuit of Dutch midfielder Frenkie de Jong could restrict McTominay’s game-time


It was a really troublesome first yr for Varane, who should have typically puzzled what on earth he’d obtained himself in for having swapped Actual Madrid’s serial winners for United’s bumbling underachievers.

As his previous membership gained the Champions League but once more, his new one by no means appeared remotely more likely to problem for something and the shock of dropped requirements was talked about by Rio Ferdinand this week.

However given the Frenchman is likely one of the few serial winners within the United dressing room – with 4 Champions League titles, three Spanish leagues and the World Cup in his assortment – he may doubtlessly lead by instance.

Raphael Varane knows exactly what is required to win the highest honours in football

Raphael Varane is aware of precisely what’s required to win the best honours in soccer

Varane and Maguire did show the green shoots of a potentially-solid central defensive pairing

Varane and Maguire did present the inexperienced shoots of a potentially-solid central defensive pairing

From his experiences with Actual and France, Varane is aware of full properly what’s required to problem for the highest honours and will set the usual.

He additionally has expertise of captaining each his former membership and his nation within the odd video games previously.

However wouldn’t it be odd switching the armband from one half of a defensive partnership to the opposite? Would it not create a friction and resentment that in the end simply undermines the staff?

No matter Ten Hag decides, one constructive coming into the brand new season is that Maguire and Varane did typically look strong when paired collectively on the coronary heart of the defence.

In 15 video games collectively, United misplaced simply twice and conceded lower than a purpose per sport.


This feels like a wildcard choice nevertheless it may simply work. Marcus Rashford is a footballer in want of a raise and maybe main the membership has cherished his complete life may present it.

Chastened by his missed penalty within the Euro closing and the abhorrent abuse that adopted it, Rashford began final season late after having shoulder surgical procedure.

A month after he returned to motion, Ole Gunner Solskjaer was sacked and United have been in disaster. A peripheral determine in far too many video games, he mustered simply 5 targets all season, by far his worst return for the membership.

Marcus Rashford will be determined to return to form after his struggles last season

Marcus Rashford shall be decided to return to kind after his struggles final season

Rashford scores against Atalanta in the Champions League - one of just five goals last season

Rashford scores in opposition to Atalanta within the Champions League – one in every of simply 5 targets final season

Rashford has been working onerous with a private coach throughout his summer time holidays to hit the bottom working below Ten Hag, whose intricate man administration could possibly be simply what the ahead wants.

It is unlikely Rashford may have a repeat of final season and he has the added motivation of attempting to win again his England place in time for the World Cup.

His love for the membership means he’d certainly be prepared to simply accept the obligation of being their captain however there’s all the time the concern the added scrutiny and stress could crush his confidence even additional.


Or Ten Hag may hold the established order and Maguire carries on.

The England defender was criticised for each his on-field performances and his management expertise final season however the two can typically go hand-in-hand.

He must get his confidence again and return to the excessive requirements he confirmed in 2020-21 and within the European Championship.

United fans will be hoping to see more of a happy Harry Maguire in the season ahead

United followers shall be hoping to see extra of a contented Harry Maguire within the season forward

Taking part in alongside one or each of Varane and a attainable new signing like Jurrien Timber or Lisandro Martinez may assist compensate for a few of the deficiencies in his sport.

Maguire clearly finds the criticism stinging, takes the social media abuse to coronary heart, and shall be decided to make amends.

Ten Hag can restore his confidence by publicly backing him as captain early on and hope that may translate into a greater season to make all the controversy over his management disappear.


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