Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand has named Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof as two major weak links that could prevent Ralf Rangnick from implementing his style of football.
The former England international believes the Red Devils’ interim manager is trying to get Man Utd to play more like big sides like Liverpool, Manchester City and Bayern Munich.
This means a high-energy approach, with defenders winning the ball high up the pitch, but Ferdinand isn’t sure that kind of defending works with centre-backs like Maguire and Lindelof.
In general, Ferdinand, who won the Premier League title six times in his Old Trafford career, has questioned if Maguire and Lindelof are good enough to make United champions.
“I think there can be improvements. I think Lindelof is a good player, a solid player. Is he gonna enable you to win the league? I don’t know,” Ferdinand told Vibe with Five.
“Is Maguire gonna enable you to win the league, that’s the question as well. Because the thing about someone like Ralf and all the top teams now, when they play now, they play on the front foot and are aggressive and wanna win the ball high.
“So, therefore, you need defenders who can defend on the halfway line, one-v-one, two-v-two – or three against two if you need that security.
“If you can play two-v-two one-v-one or on the halfway line, that enables you to have more bodies in the opponent’s half of the pitch, hence why teams do that to win the ball early and be closer to the opposition’s goal to score goals.
“Liverpool do it tremendously well, City do it really, really well as well, Bayern [Munich] do it; three of the best teams on the planet. Everyone’s going that way of playing football, Ralf Rangnick’s style of football is like that.
“Can Maguire do that, can you do that with Maguire? That’s my problem, that’s my issue.”
Ferdinand knows a thing or two about what it takes to win major trophies, so this is a concerning analysis from the pundit.
MUFC signed Raphael Varane to strengthen their defence last summer, but they could probably do with another new addition in that area of the pitch ahead of next season.