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‘Maguire as Man Utd captain? Why not?’ – Mata sees leadership qualities in £80m defender

21:07 GMT+3 28/09/2019
Harry Maguire Manchester United 2019-20
The Red Devils have made the England international the most expensive centre-half on the planet and a new team-mate can see why such faith was shown

Harry Maguire is Manchester United captain material, says Juan Mata, with the £80 million ($100m) centre-half expected to become a leader at Old Trafford.

That is the plan for the Red Devils, who have made the England international the most expensive defender in world football.

It has not taken long for Maguire to become a key component in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s plans, with the 26-year-old one of a handful of United players to have offered some kind of consistency in 2019-20.

Mata sees him taking on more responsibility as he becomes better adjusted to new surroundings, with there no reason why the armband should not be passed in his direction at some stage.

Quizzed in The Times as to whether such a decision could be taken, Mata said: “Why not?

“He has experience, his physical presence is important, centre back is a good position to be a commanding personality in the team and he has international experience.

“He’s come to a big club, really having a chance to make that next step towards to even more.

“Daniel [James] also has [made] a very good start of the campaign, and everyone can see how quick he is.”

While hailing two of the summer signings at Old Trafford, Mata reserved special praise for the third.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka cost United £50m ($61m), but the 21-year-old has already offered an early return on that investment with a collection of eye-catching displays.

Mata has been impressed by the flying full-back, saying of a player he considers to be unique: “He’s very, very good in defensive duties, very good in tackling.

“I’ve never seen any player like him, he’s unbelievable.

“Even in training you think you’re past him and then he comes and takes the ball straight. He has very long legs! I can only see him improving.

“Like Anthony [Martial], he’s a shy, reserved guy but confident on the pitch.”

United will need Maguire and Wan-Bissaka to be at their best in the club’s next outing.

Solskjaer’s side are preparing for a visit from Arsenal on Monday, with the Red Devils still searching for a spark to ignite their campaign as uncomfortable questions are once again asked of the playing and coaching staff.