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The former midfielder believes the elder statesmen in the dressing room need to start leading by example as the Red Devils continue to struggle

Roy Keane has urged Ryan Giggs and Rio Ferdinand to “step up” at Manchester United, as David Moyes' side continue to struggle in the Premier League.

United have endured a dismal season and currently sit in seventh, a staggering 18 points behind league-leaders Chelsea.

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They have little hope of qualifying for the Champions League – and face a battle to reach the Europa League – with Moyes coming under increasing pressure.

United are already eyeing up possible replacements for Moyes, but Keane has told the club's senior players to start leading by example – and has backed Moyes to rebuild an ageing squad.

“I don’t know where you start,” Keane said, whilst speaking at University College Cork. “They need a number of players. Defensively, there are players leaving and I don’t think it helps Nemanja Vidic is going, people are talking about Patrice Evra and obviously Rio and Giggsy are coming to an end.

“They are lacking a few leaders at the moment and I don’t think they have that type of player in the group. But I think United will be all right and David Moyes will get plenty of time. The man deserves it. He’s got vast experience, but his staff – Steve Round and Phil Neville – and a couple of senior players, Rio and Giggsy, they have to step up to the plate.

“One or two of the new players are getting criticism, but it’s up to the players who have been there a few years who know what United are about.”

Keane drew parallels with his playing days and believes United need some “defining moments” if they are to turn their form around. He added: “We had tough days.

“We ground out results, we survived a few times, we got lucky breaks. When we won the league [in 1996], at Newcastle we could have been five nil down at half-time, yet we ended up winning with Eric Cantona nicking a goal.

“You need defining moments, but this team will not find it because they don’t have it in the group.”

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