HARRY MAGUIRE should hardly be that worried that he will lose the Manchester United captaincy once Erik Ten Hag shows up.
Certainly not on the basis of the first audition of suitable candidates on view against Chelsea.
Harry Maguire missed out through injuryCredit: Reuters
The Red Devils lacked leadership against ChelseaCredit: EPA
The England central defender’s role as skipper of the Red Devils is under threat.
Interim manager Ralf Rangnick declared that a vote should be held amongst the players for who will wear the famous arm band next season.
And that means Maguire, missing against Chelsea and who will also be out with knee trouble for the remaining three games of United’s miserable campaign, won’t get the German’s recommendation to carry on.
That could mean several players will lead the team as opposed to only one.
Yet no one player stood out as his replacement even if Bruno Fernandes was captain for the night and will probably be given the responsibility through those last fixtures.
Fernandes did, earlier in his United career, suggest he had the fire and brimstone to handle the job.
But while he recently signed a new £250,000-a-week contract until 2026 he did not, again, live up to that inflated salary no matter that so many around him were so poor.
He loves a hissy fit, too, so Ten Hag, known for his calm authority, is unlikely to want to promote him full time.
David De Gea, unlike so many around him who in the first half were little more than bystanders as Chelsea played through them, at least stood up to the onslaught.
A bit like he has done all season, one of the very few who can say they have worn the badge with real pride.
Yet as a goalkeeper he might be considered as being too far away fro the ation to influence his team mates.
Even if a lot of the action last night and for so long has actually been around him.
Scott McTominay, big strong and developed by United, has long been seen as a possible Red Leader.
Except that against Chelsea, and as has been the case too frequently, he failed to exert any authority.
Nor can he be considered to have not only the class of a great captain such as a Bryan Robson or Roy Keane – or, indeed the abilities of either whether that be defending or attacking.
As Keane himself declared in his TV punditry role covering the Chelsea clash : “There are no surprises over the way United are playing.
“Physically and mentally they are shot to pieces.”
At least Cristiano Ronaldo cannot be described in those terms.
Within 90 seconds of Marcos Alonso putting his Stamford Bridge mates ahead CR7 was smashing home his 23 goal since his return to United last summer.
Were he seven years young, even five years younger, he would be a natural to replace Maguire.
His own fits of petulance have been well documented since he came back for his second spell.
But unquestionably he cares.
And even if that care may be based on his own huge ego he still has passion.
The problem is that he is aged 37, he may well be leaving this summer – either of his own accord of because Ten Hag will not want to build a team around a veteran who has also sometimes expressed his contempt at some of his own team mates.
There just isn’t that same desire beating elsewhere, along with the talent to go with it, in the United dressing room and Maguire himself can come across as a cold fish.
Ten Hag may be forced to go against Rangnick’s recommendation if only because Maguire is the man with the band.
He may not be the best of captains and is not exactly Mr. Personality but then again few of those around him in the squad could claim to have that characteristic either.
Red they may be. But Ronaldo apart, devils they are very definitely not.
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