Manchester United legend Gary Neville has suggested that the respective situations of Harry Maguire and Jadon Sancho could be playing a role in the current issues his old club are going through.
United suffered their third Premier League loss of the season as they were humbled 3-1 at Old Trafford over the weekend by a Brighton side who have begun the season in fine form.
And Erik ten Hag now has the daunting task of taking his side to Bavaria to face Harry Kane and Bayern Munich in their Champions League group-stage opener on Wednesday evening.
Both Maguire and Sancho failed to feature against the Seagulls on Saturday, with the former on the bench while Sancho has been banished from the first team after refusing to apologise to Ten Hag following an argument between the two which rumbled over the international break.
The Dutchman has indicated that Sancho will not be restored to the first-team set-up until he issues an apology, meaning he could be gone for some time.
Maguire, meanwhile, remains down the pecking order of central defenders at Old Trafford, despite an injury to Raphael Varane.
Lisandro Martinez and Victor Lindelof started the Brighton debacle, but Neville thinks what is going on with Sacho and Maguire could be causing a big problem for Ten Hag.
He told Sky Sports: “[Ten Hag] will continue to keep doing what he is doing, which is following his beliefs, his values, his principles. The only thing I would say is, how popular is Sancho in the dressing room? How popular is Maguire in the dressing room?
“This discomfort and uncertainty is being created on the inside. You have got a player at the moment, who is probably changing in the first-team dressing room but is obviously over with the academy. You have got Harry Maguire, who was captain of these players 12 months ago by the way, who is now almost in some ways alienated and is now third, fourth, fifth-choice centre-half.
“So, he’s got some situations in there and I don’t know the damage that they are having. But in terms of his work on the pitch, I don’t think Erik ten Hag will change, and the fact of the matter is that there have been many a manager, good managers, over the last 10 or 12 years since Sir Alex Ferguson left who have found challenges at Manchester United.”
Decision-making still a major Man Utd issue
Neville also believes that the United boardroom have given Ten Hag too much power in terms of signings, which in turn indicates and lack of decision-making at the highest point of the club.
The 48-year-old adds that no right-minded United fan would have been shocked by the result against Brighton, having seen in happen too often in recent times.
Neville added: “There is no Manchester United fan I know, that has got a brain, that is most angry with Erik ten Hag. What they want really is a change of ownership and they want stability and they want a group of players that are committed. And I don’t think the players aren’t committed. I just wonder how good they are. That is my concern.”