Rio Ferdinand believes it was a mistake to hand over the captain’s armband to Harry Maguire so early – amid claims he is involved in a leadership conflict with Cristiano Ronaldo.
Maguire, 28, was named captain in January 2020 following the exit of Ashley Young, less than six months after a £85million transfer from Leicester.
United legend Ferdinand believes the armband is protecting him from being sold after several fans asked him to leave after a drop in form.
Ferdinand, 43, told Vibe With Five: “The fact that he has an armband has given him that grace. Which he will do. I think he was given it too early.
“Coming to Manchester United is hard work, to put your feet under the table and start feeling comfortable in it without the added pressure of being captain.
“Being the captain is a big responsibility, with it comes history, a huge burden on your shoulders.
“You need to feel there for a while to carry that weight.
“It was more important for Maguire to focus on being a Manchester United mainstay than on being captain.”
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Ferdinand’s words come after claims Maguire is locked in a power struggle with Ronaldo.
Gary Neville recently hinted at a clash between the pair and Maguire has reportedly been more pressing since the Portugal legend’s return to Old Trafford in the summer.
Ferdinand believes United should have named David de Gea as captain instead – alongside Phil Jones as one of just two players who played in the 2012–13 Premier League-winning season.
He added: “The thing you can counter this is that the club didn’t have many captains, who else are they going to pick?
“David de Gea would have been my favorite because he had been there and he knew what it took to win.
“It’s all backwards, but you have to think about these times that might come with someone like Harry Maguire, new to the club in the sense.
“And that extra pressure is taking a toll on him at the moment.”