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Rio Ferdinand questions whether Manchester United can win the Premier League title with Harry Maguire and suggests the Red Devils captain is too slow for Ralf Rangnick’s pressing style.


Rio Ferdinand has wondered if Manchester United can win the Premier League title with Harry Maguire in defence.

The Red Devils captain, 28, is the most expensive defender in football history but has certainly not played like that this season.

Maguire lost his place in United’s starting XI on Saturday
Getty

Maguire was dropped by caretaker manager Ralf Rangnick for Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Watford after a long spell of poor form.

The England defender has excelled for club and country in the past, but Ferdinand suggests his speed, or lack thereof, is on display this season.

Rangnick is a proponent of “gegenpressing,” a high-octane style designed to regain possession by chasing the ball in fierce numbers.

Ferdinand believes that with committed men in the upper areas, the German’s philosophy calls for a central defender who can command the halfway line and everything behind, if the opposition escape the press.

And the legendary United defender suggests Maguire is too slow for the role.

“Is Maguire going to win you the championship? It’s also a question,” Ferdinand said on his Vibe with Five YouTube channel.

Rio Ferdinand questions whether Manchester United can win the Premier League title with Harry Maguire and suggests the Red Devils captain is too slow for Ralf Rangnick's pressing style.
Ferdinand gave a damning assessment of Maguire
Getty Images


“The thing with someone like Ralf Rangnick and all the top teams now is that when they play they play on the front foot and want to win the ball high.

“Therefore, you need defenders who can defend down the halfway line one-on-one, two-on-two or three-on-two if you want that security.

“But if you can go two-on-two or one-on-one down the halfway line, it allows you to have more body in the opposing half. Hence why teams do that, to win the ball early and get closer to the opposing goal to score goals.

“Liverpool do it extremely well, Manchester City do it very well, Bayern do it. Three of the best teams on the planet and everyone plays football that way. Rangnick’s style is like that.

“Can you do that with Maguire?” It’s my problem, it’s my problem. His rhythm does not allow it, he will always look over his shoulder.

“If I’m a fast centre-forward or a fast striker, I’d hang around where Harry Maguire is.

Rio Ferdinand questions whether Manchester United can win the Premier League title with Harry Maguire and suggests the Red Devils captain is too slow for Ralf Rangnick's pressing style.
Maguire has struggled for form at Old Trafford this season
Getty

“Despite all the good traits he has in his game, it’s a big weakness and it’s a fundamental of all the best teams, to play one-on-one halfway.

“For Maguire, in the long run, unless he can find an extra yard of pace, it’s going to be tough for him.

“You have to be able to do that. The best teams, the best players can do it. Jaap Stam – leave it on the midline, no problem. Virgil van Dijk, leave him on the halfway line, no problem.

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