Manchester United captain Harry Maguire has rejected claims from Roy Keane suggesting that the Red Devils lack leadership within their ranks.
A skipper from the club’s illustrious past has taken a dim view on current struggles for consistency.
Keane has never been one to shy away from offering an opinion and has been left less than impressed by what he has seen from United of late.
A new low was hit when suffering a 1-0 home defeat to Arsenal last time out, with Keane telling Sky Sports that the Red Devils are missing the character required to break themselves out of a rut.
He said: "You're playing at United because you're expected to break these teams down, you’re expected to run back, you're expected to roll your sleeves up. That’s what characters at Manchester United are about.
"I don’t see men out there. I don’t see guys you want to be in the trenches with, guys you trust. Alex Ferguson always used to make the point that you need courage to be a Manchester United player - wanting the ball when you don’t really want it.
"Bravery doesn’t necessarily mean nailing somebody. Bravery means wanting possession, fans on your back, courage to pass the ball forward. We saw United players taking the easy option. They have to do better."
Maguire insists that Keane has got his assessment of United’s class of 2020-21 wrong, with the England international adamant that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer boasts both ability and leadership within his squad.
The Red Devils skipper told reporters: “I haven’t seen his comments. We don’t look at what’s happening, especially after a negative result, we don’t bring the negativity into the place, we stay positive.
“I can say for sure there’s a lot of leaders in this squad, I’m the captain and I have a lot of leadership around me with staff and players, so no. There’s a lot of leaders in the squad.”
United boss Solskjaer also sought to shrug off the contentious comments of his former team-mate.
He said: "Roy has always been outspoken and I'm very glad I have the players we've got here, we've got different jobs and Roy’s job is to give his opinion and I always listen to Roy but we always move on here with a great group of players, a strong group of players, and I'm sure we'll see a response."
Further criticism can be avoided by the Red Devils if they are able to play their way into form.
A Champions League clash with Istanbul Basaksehir on Wednesday will present them with an opportunity to claim a third successive win in that competition, and Maguire believes a corner will be turned.
He said: “The main thing is working hard, trying to improve.
“Coming into training each day, trying to improve. We want to be consistent. Last season when we found consistency we achieved third in the Premier League and Champions League football.
“We started off not in the best shape this season. We have worked hard since we came back from international break and since then we have been really good.
“We have conceded two own goals and a soft penalty. We are on the right track but we need to get the right balance.”