Former Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic has told the Red Devils to drop Harry Maguire in order to fix his poor form.
Maguire has struggled to live up to his £80 million ($104m) price tag since joining United from Leicester City in 2019.
The 29-year-old was handed captaincy duties midway through his first season at Old Trafford, but his leadership credentials have often been called into question, particularly this season as the Red Devils have fallen to seventh in the Premier League standings.
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What's been said?
Ralf Rangnick's side are in danger of missing out on Champions League qualification and have been knocked out of every major cup competition.
Their chances of securing a top-four Premier League finish were severly dented by a 1-0 loss at Everton on Saturday as Anthony Gordon scored the winner with the aid of a deflection off Maguire.
Vidic, who won five league titles and the Champions League in a hugely impressive eight year spell at Old Trafford as a player, feels Maguire should now be taken out of the firing line.
“Every player has a problem with form at some time in his career,” he told The Athletic when quizzed on the centre-back's recent struggles. “I did and it’s clear that Maguire is not at his best this season. I think you can do a few things and one of them is not to play every match as you try to find form again and get confidence.
"A coach could play him in easier games, not that there are many in the Premier League, and take him out for harder matches. The player needs to feel powerful and strong on the pitch again, not as it is now where he feels that it’s not happening for him.
"It’s difficult to play well when you’re under so much pressure because people are waiting for you to make a mistake."
United's defensive woes
The Red Devils have conceded 42 goals in the Premier League so far this term, more than any other side in the top nine, and now sit six points behind Tottenham in the race for fourth.
Maguire has been at the heart of a defence that has only managed to record seven clean sheets, and Vidic has advised him to ask for a break to clear his head.
“It’s not a problem if a player says to his coach that he’s not feeling great on the pitch," he added.
"If he says: ‘Give me a break, give me a couple of weeks to regroup and train well and then play again’.
"I had some horrible games for United and needed to find my peace and grow again.”