Harry Maguire has hit back at critics of Manchester United “leadership”, with the Red Devils captain claiming to be working with the “best group” he has ever seen.
Questions were asked of the Red Devils when they stumbled out of the blocks in 2020-21.
Maguire was enduring a tough time at that stage, for club and country, with it suggested that the England international might not be the right man to fill an armband at Old Trafford.
The perfect response has been offered to those doubters, as the Red Devils sit at the top of the Premier League table, with Maguire adamant that there are leaders all over the pitch in Manchester.
He has told United’s official podcast: “I think it’s something that did get brought up in the media, about leadership at this club – but for sure, it’s the best leadership group I’ve been involved in at a club.
“We have a lot of leaders in the dressing room, a lot of senior pros.
“And you don’t have to be a senior pro to be a leader. Axel [Tuanzebe] is a leader, in the ways that he works and speaks in the dressing room. And he’s only a young boy, he’s still learning his trade – I’m sure he’ll go on to have an unbelievable career.
“I think we have a lot of leaders. There’s Bruno, who has come in and made a massive impact at the club, results-wise but also off the field. His mentality – it rubs off on other people when you have a strong mentality, a winning mentality.
“Nemanja [Matic], Juan [Mata], David [De Gea] – they’ve been at the club a while now. There’s definitely a lot of leaders in the dressing room.”
Maguire continues to be entrusted with the responsibility of skippering United, with the 27-year-old defender growing into a role that he still considers to be a “massive privilege”.
Reflecting on Solskjaer’s decision to hand him the armband in January 2020, the commanding centre-half said: “He just pulled me and he said, ‘Look, I’m going to make you captain of this club’.
“Obviously it was a great moment for myself – it’s a huge honour to play for this club, never mind be the captain and lead the boys out at Old Trafford.
"It’s a massive honour and a massive privilege. It came a lot sooner than I would have dreamed of.
"Obviously Ash [Ashley Young] was here before, I learned a lot off Ash when he was here for three or four months. A great guy, a great player for the club, a great servant.”
Maguire will be leading the Red Devils into battle again on Wednesday when they take in a home date with his former club Sheffield United.