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Antonio Conte’s verdict on Harry Maguire amid challenge to Man Utd captaincy

Maguire has been Manchester United captain since January 2020, but questions have been asked regarding the England defender after Sunday’s heavy loss to Liverpool

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Solskjaer takes responsibility for Maguire selection in defeat

A number of individuals at Manchester United have seen the pressure on them increase in the light of the 5-0 defeat at home to Liverpool on Sunday.

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has taken the brunt of the criticism, with a growing number of coaches mentioned as his possible successor at Old Trafford.

Harry Maguire has also been in the firing line, with one team-mate reportedly questioning Maguire’s captaincy during talks between United squad members.

If Solskjaer is replaced, a new manager might opt to change things up and could even take the armband away from the man who has held it since January 2020.

However, Antonio Conte, one of the names reportedly in the frame, seemed to like what he saw of the England centre-back during his last spell managing in England.

Should Harry Maguire keep hold of the United captaincy? Have your say in the comments section








Maguire struggled as United lost to Liverpool
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Image:

Getty Images)



Maguire, who signed for United in the summer of 2019, was named captain a few months later when Ashley Young left for Inter Milan.

The former Leicester City man has helped his club secure successive top-four finishes, as well as a run to the Europa League final, but found things tough in recent league defeats against Leicester and Liverpool.

And, according to The Times, one of the defender’s colleagues used clear-the-air talks after the loss at the King Power Stadium to ponder whether Solskjaer was right to hand Maguire the armband.





Comments made by Conte during his time at Chelsea make for more positive reading, however.

The Italian manager – currently without a club despite leading Inter Milan to Serie A glory last season – won the Premier League with the Blues in 2016-17.

And if you’re after praise from a former Chelsea manager, you can’t do much better than comparisons with former Blues captain John Terry.

“I think he has the right characteristics to play for the national team for many years,” Conte said of Maguire when the defender was still at Leicester.

“To compare him with John [Terry] is very difficult because John played a lot of games with national team. He was captain, he was legend for the England national football team and Chelsea.

“But Maguire has the right characteristics to follow this type of career.”




Upon confirming Maguire’s captaincy in 2020, Solskjaer praised the player’s leadership qualities.

“He’s come in and everything about him tells me he is a leader,” the Norwegian said.

However, the recent poor form has left United playing catch-up in the chase for the top four.

United are eight points off the top of the table ahead of Saturday’s trip to Tottenham, while no top-half team has conceded more goals than Solskjaer’s side.


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