Pundit names prime candidate for Man Utd captaincy, with Raphael Varane ruled out due to key issue

Christian Eriksen and Diogo Dalot

A former Premier League player thinks Erik ten Hag should give the Manchester United captaincy to Christian Eriksen, if Harry Maguire ends up being stripped of the role.

Maguire’s status as Manchester United skipper came into question as soon as Erik ten Hag was announced as their new manager. But in July, the Old Trafford newcomer revealed Maguire would continue to lead the team.

He told reporters: “Harry Maguire is our captain. I have to get to know all the players, but he’s an established captain and he’s achieved a lot of success.”

Maguire began the season in Ten Hag’s starting eleven, playing a full 90 minutes in each of the defeats to Brighton and Brentford.

But after the second loss, which ended 4-0 to the Bees, Maguire was dropped. Ten Hag went with Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez at the back to try and get a response from his players.

The decision paid off as Manchester United beat Liverpool 2-1 in their next Premier League outing. Varane and Martinez continue to be the club’s first-choice defensive pairing.

Maguire was given an opportunity in the recent Champions League match against Real Sociedad. Ten Hag put him at centre-half alongside Sweden international Victor Lindelof.

However, the Red Devils were beaten 1-0 at home. This will do little to make the manager change his mind and bring Maguire back into the starting lineup.

Ten Hag put his trust in Maguire at the start of the campaign by keeping him as captain. But the 29-year-old being kept on the bench has brought his captaincy into the limelight once again.

Petit backs Christian Eriksen for Man Utd captaincy

Emmanuel Petit, who made 115 appearances for Arsenal between 1997 and 2000, thinks Ten Hag should change things up. He wants to see Eriksen replace Maguire as United’s leader.

The Frenchman also reckons Varane is too ‘shy’ to be suitable for the role.

“Raphael Varane has played at a very good level, but he’s very shy and doesn’t have the temper or the personality to be the Manchester United captain,” Petit said (via the Daily Mirror).

“The one player that should receive the Manchester United captaincy is Christian Eriksen. He has the personality and the character and he always gives the best version of himself on the pitch.”

United brought in Eriksen on a free transfer during the summer, following the expiry of his Brentford contract.

The Dane had a tough start to life at United as he was trying to adjust to Ten Hag’s system. But Eriksen has since become one of United’s top performers.

Gary Neville thought he was the man of the match during the recent 3-1 win over Arsenal.

It’s clear to see why Petit reckons Eriksen should be captain. The 30-year-old has plenty of experience at the top level and can also inspire his team-mates through his creativity.

But ruling Varane out of the mix for the armband is a bit harsh. After all, Varane is probably louder than Eriksen on the pitch and should at least get a consideration for the captaincy.

Meanwhile, Man Utd are going big in their hunt for David de Gea’s replacement and could make a move for Atletico Madrid stalwart Jan Oblak, according to a report.