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Daily Mirror

Harry Maguire told he may have got Cristiano Ronaldo call wrong amid Man Utd struggles

Harry Maguire's reign as Manchester United captain has been called into question by Red Devils legend Andrew Cole, who speculates as to whether the armband has weighed him down.

The England international has been a lightening rod for criticism this season, as United have endured their worst campaign of the Premier League-era and are now guaranteed to finish with their lowest points tally. Maguire was the subject of threats towards the tail-end of this term that saw police investigate the matter.

While his form has undeniably not been up to scratch, there is an argument that Maguire's poor performances have been scapegoated to paper over the cracks of wider issues currently ravaging through United. The managerial situation has hardly helped matters, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer dismissed mid-season and replaced by Ralf Rangnick on an interim basis.

Maguire's woeful season has also been a source of confusion for some members of the Old Trafford faithful given it comes off the back of a fantastic Euro 2020 campaign with the Three Lions. The idea that the pressure that comes with being captain of United may have taken its toll on the 29-year-old is a theory believed by many.

Just after the turn of the calendar year, Maguire's form hit such a rut that talk of him handing over the armband to the more experienced Cristiano Ronaldo became rife. Rumours of a rift between the pair duly followed, but the former Leicester City man holds on to his status as skipper for now.

Pondering whether retaining the captain's armband is actually good for Maguire, Cole conceded that he harbours some question marks over the decision.

Harry Maguire has not started for Man Utd since mid-April ((Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images))

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Speaking exclusively to Mirror Football on behalf of Bookmakers.com, the United icon explained: "I don’t know, it could be a possibility that it has weighed heavily on him, it could be a good possibility that if he gave up the captain’s armband to concentrate on his game he could have done that but the only person that you could ask is Harry himself. It’s difficult to talk about players going through a difficult patch."

Maguire's season hit a new low when Rangnick dropped him from the starting line-up for the trip to Arsenal last month and he is yet to return. Cole has questioned whether that decision from the German interim boss was worthwhile.

"I don’t know if it’s been beneficial to him as there was only three games left, he has dropped him with three games to go – how is that going to be beneficial? You aren’t going to know until next season, him and virtually everybody else we’ve had a tough season," Cole explained. "It’s been a hard one to sum up."