Long gone are the says when Manchester United struck fear into the hearts and minds of opposition players during Sir Alex Ferguson’s time in charge of the club.
During their era of dominance in the soccer world, the team had a number of vocal leaders who set the performance standards and held other members of the team accountable.
Think of players like Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville and Paul Scholes all standing behind the veteran captain Roy Keane who inspired and led by example.
Even if Keane was absent for a game, you’d expect other members of the team to show leadership.
Fast forward to today, and the situation could not be any more different.
The Manchester United captaincy is held by Harry Maguire, a player who consistently comes into the firing line for criticism because of his performances on the pitch.
And that therefore begs the question…
Why is Harry Maguire the captain of Manchester United – a team with very high standards that has the expectation of winning major trophies every season?
If you were to ask most soccer analysts, they wouldn’t have the Englishman as their first pick to lead Manchester United on a game to game basis.
But the answer is actually quite simple.
Harry Maguire is the current captain of Manchester United because of former captain Ashley Youngs’ departure, along with the fact that he’s consistently demonstrated admirable leadership qualities in the past. This was highlighted by former manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – who pointed out Maguire’s ability to rally together other players within the core social group at the club.
Here’s what the Norwegian coach had to say about the current skipper:
“Harry has been wearing the captain’s armband and he will keep wearing it. He’s been a leader in the group and I’ve been impressed by his leadership skills. He’s come in and everything about him tells me he’s a leader. He’s been leading this young group. Harry will keep on wearing the armband now.”Source – Fotmob
When did Harry Maguire get the captaincy?
Harry Maguire was appointed as the Manchester United captain in January of 2020, following the departure of veteran Ashley Young to Inter Milan.
And how Maguire came to become the captain of Manchester United is actually quite straightforward.
Young was 34 years old at the time, with his spell at the club coming to an end because Manchester United apparently didn’t want to offer him a two-year contract extension.
More so, people point to the emergence of talented players like Brandon Williams and Ethan Laird as factors that contributed towards Young leaving the club as he may have wanted assurances on his role within the team and his future playing time.
So, once Ashley Young signed for the Italian side, Solskjaer made the decision to give Maguire the armband which was vacant after his Young’s departure.
Is Maguire still the captain of Manchester United?
Funnily enough, Harry Maguire is still the captain of Manchester United even to this day.
The current manager – Erik ten Hag – chose to retain Maguire as captain when he joined the club in the summer of 2022.
He cited the fact that Maguire has been an established captain for a few years and mentioned that the player has achieved success whilst having this role.
Here he is talking about this topic at the four-minute mark in a recent press conference:
The Dutchman has also pointed out that at the beginning of his tenure, every player has a clean slate and gets the opportunity to show what they can do on the pitch regardless of the mistakes that a player has made in the past.
Ten Hag has therefore shown a willingness to look past previous faults when it comes to Maguire’s performances, which is why the Englishman has retained the captaincy so far.
On the other hand, this season Maguire finds himself on the bench in most of the important fixtures because of the fact that he’s failed to perform well when called upon.
New signing Lisandro Martinez appears to have usurped Maguire in the defensive pecking order, with Raphael Varane preferred the former’s defensive partner.
Who is the vice-captain of Manchester United?
When Maguire is not available to assume his role of captain within the Manchester United team, Bruno Fernandes steps up in his place.
The Portuguese international is the vice-captain as he wears the armband whenever Maguire is absent.
Surprisingly, you’d expect the legendary forward Cristiano Ronaldo to be the vice-captain considering his stature within the soccer world as well as the history he has with Manchester United.
His seniority also can’t be called into question, as the 38-year-old has more playing experience than any other members of the team.
But Bruno Fernandes is the vice-captain, and Ronaldo would only wear the armband if both Maguire and Fernandes were not part of the matchday squad.
That brings us to the end of this article on why Harry Maguire captains Manchester United.
If you’ve enjoyed reading through this piece, then you may want to check out our posts on:
- Why Maguire is considered a bad soccer player;
- The Harry Maguire meme explained;
- Why soccer captains put on armbands;
- Why Maguire is referred to as a fridge; and
- Why fans call Harry Maguire by the name “slab head”
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