'Unbelievable' Maguire defended by Manchester United legend Ferdinand and compared to Pique

Harry Maguire Man Utd 2021-22Getty Images

Rio Ferdinand has jumped to the defence of "unbelievable" Manchester United captain Harry Maguire while comparing his struggles at Old Trafford to those endured by Gerard Pique at the start of his career.

Maguire, who joined United from Leicester City in a record-breaking £80 million ($104m) deal in 2019, has been subjected to intense criticism throughout the season.

The 29-year-old has led a Red Devils defence that has only managed eight clean sheets in 31 games, making a number of errors along the way, but Ferdinand believes he still has plenty to offer.

What has been said?

The Man Utd legend has pointed to Maguire's record for England as proof of his quality, with the centre-back having helped his country reach the World Cup semi-final and European Championship final over the past four years.

“In an England shirt he’s been nothing but phenomenal. He’s been unreal. You can’t say he’s a dead player, he’s been unbelievable for England,” Ferdinand said on his YouTube channel FIVE.

“What I’m saying is, for England he’s been great, but they play a particular way of football that probably suits him."

Ferdinand has suggested United's style doesn't play to Maguire's strengths, which he says was the same problem Pique had at Old Trafford before the Spaniard left for Barcelona in 2008 and went on to become one of Europe's best defenders.

Gerard Pique Manchester United

“Gerard Pique was at Man Utd, you could argue that he might not have had the career that he’s had at Barcelona if he stayed at Man Utd because of the way he plays," Ferdinand added.

Article continues below

“It’s like boxing, styles make fights – it’s the same in football. The way of Man Utd’s football, and the way that they are trying to play, hasn’t suited him.

“Also form and confidence. His confidence has taken a big knock and I don’t care who you are, you could be Messi, Ronaldo, Zidane, Mbappe all these players – if their confidence is low they are not the same player.”

Further reading