Former Chelsea midfielder Craig Burley has warned Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that Harry Maguire’s form is becoming a “major concern”.
United paid £80million to bring Maguire to Old Trafford from Leicester City last summer in what was a world-record fee for a defender.
The England centre-back has produced some dominating performances at the heart of the Red Devils defence and was awarded the captaincy in January.
However, Maguire has made a number of high-profile errors since the Premier League’s restart and his performances have drawn criticism.
The 27-year-old was beaten easily by Steven Bergwijn as the winger opened the scoring in Spurs’ draw with United.
Two weeks later, Maguire was nutmegged in the penalty area as Junior Stanislas scored for Bournemouth at Old Trafford.
And Maguire was partly to blame as Michael Obafemi pounced on some tame set piece defending to equalise for Southampton in Monday night’s 2-2 draw.
Burley went so far as to describe Maguire as “cumbersome” during an assessment of United’s options in central defence.
“I think Lindelof is OK but for the money they paid for Harry Maguire, I tell you he is looking very cumbersome to me,” he told ESPN FC .
“If I was Solskjaer, that centre-half pairing would be a big concern for me. We know they’re not the only team. We know City are looking for centre halves, we know Chelsea are, Arsenal are desperate for them.
“All these clubs are desperate for these defenders and Manchester United are another club that are in that scenario.”
Though the draw with the Saints dented United’s hopes of securing a top four finish, Burley believes the Red Devils are still on course to secure Champions League football.
However, the ex-Scotland international insists United would already be sure of a top four finish if they had a coach with “tactical nous”.
Burley added: “I think United are the favourites to get in it because of their remaining fixtures but if they’d have had a man in charge from the start of the season who in my opinion was up to the task properly they would probably have nailed it down already by now.
“Manchester United are one of the biggest commercial juggernauts in the world and have been for some while. Their standards are a lot higher than most others. I would suggest sitting in fifth in the table is not great shape for Man Utd unless standards have dropped.
“I acknowledge some of their great young players, I don’t deny that. But the big question isn’t if these young players produce, it’s has he (Solskjaer) got the tactical nous when it comes to the nitty gritty, can he outwit two of the best managers on the planet in Klopp and Guardiola?
“And don’t think these teams will sit on their hands. They (Liverpool) will go out and replenish that squad in the summer, Man City will definitely go again even more so now we know they are going to be playing in the Champions League.
“We know these teams have got world-class managers, we cannot hand on heart, absolutely nobody can, apart from one or two cheerleaders, sit here and say Man Utd have got a world-class coach, If anybody does they’re stupid.”
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