Pundit backs Maguire for Man Utd return as midfielder ‘looked like he was 45’ during Brighton debacle

Man Utd stars Harry Maguire and Casemiro

Gabriel Agbonlahor feels Harry Maguire should replace one of the current Manchester United centre-backs and believes Casemiro looks old beyond his years.

United’s below-par start to the season continued on Saturday as they were easily beaten by Brighton. They now sit 13th in the table following a third top-flight reverse in 2023-2024. Brighton were fourth at close of play on Saturday evening and the gulf in class between the sides was evident at Old Trafford.

Former United striker Danny Welbeck gave the Seagulls a 20th-minute lead before Pascal Gross and substitute Joao Pedro put the game to bed.

Substitute Hannibal Mejbri’s first United goal reduced the arrears but they got no closer to the south-coast outfit.

It was a poor display by the hosts. And the crowd booed Erik ten Hag’s decision to replace Rasmus Hojlund with Anthony Martial 19 minutes into the second half.

But it was the midfield that drew the ire of former Aston Villa striker Agbonlahor.

He felt they did not pressurise the Brighton rearguard enough, with Casemiro in particular off the pace.

“It was a stroll in the park for Brighton,” he said on talkSPORT. “I am watching the game, at no time did Brighton ever feel like they couldn’t pass it out from the back.

“No matter who was pressing, they found it so easy to get through and create chances. This was like a training ground game, especially in the second-half.

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“Casemiro looked like he was 45 running around that midfield. He [Ten Hag] had to bring him off on the 65th minute for Hannibal, a young lad, because he was that bad.”

Ten Hag urged to consider Maguire recall

Maguire was a regular starter for the Red Devils during his first three seasons at the club.

However, Ten Hag’s arrival saw him relegated to the bench, with only eight league starts and 16 appearances last term.

It seemed as though the former Leicester City stopper would be sold in the summer.

West Ham were keen but nothing materialised, with Maguire eager to fight for his spot at the Theatre of Dreams.

But he has been among the substitutes once again, with only 23 minutes of top-flight football this season.

The 30-year-old continues to be picked for England, however, and scored an own goal as Gareth Southgate’s men beat Scotland earlier this week.

The centre-back has come in for fierce criticism while being targeted by opposition fans.

But Agbonlahor believes he is superior to the current players anchoring the Manchester United defence.

“You know what else wound me up today? Let’s see the same energy for Lisandro Martinez and Victor Lindelof,” he added.

“Martinez for the Gross goal, he has tried to make a block, he’s got fake-shot by Gross and he’s scored in the back of the net.

“If that was Harry Maguire, you would not hear the end of it, “he’s terrible, get him out the side.”

And the former England forward is adamant it is high time Tan Hag altered his approach to the ex-Hull City star.

He continued: “Harry Maguire must be looking around that changing room now thinking, ‘how am I not getting a chance in this team’?

“Martinez could not even play out from the back, giving the ball away, Lindelof as well. Maguire deserves to be in that team.”

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