Ten Hag blamed for major Man Utd star’s fall from grace, as Rio Ferdinand states what needs to change

Man Utd defenders Raphael Varane and Harry Maguire

Rio Ferdinand explained why Harry Maguire’s form for club and country differs so greatly, and pointed the finger at Erik ten Hag in the process.

In the build-up to the World Cup, a growing chorus of voices clamoured for Harry Maguire to be dropped from England’s starting eleven.

The 29-year-old has rarely put a foot wrong under Gareth Southgate and has been an integral figure in England reaching both a World Cup semi-final and a European Championship final in the past.

However, for the first time in his Manchester United career, Maguire is no longer a regular starter at club level.

Ten Hag wasted no time installing new recruit Lisandro Martinez as his first-choice centre-half. The Argentine’s regular partner is Raphael Varane, while the Manchester Evening News claimed Victor Lindelof is now ahead of Maguire in the pecking order too.

Regardless, Southgate kept faith with his trusted John Stones-Harry Maguire tandem and the latter put in a manful display against the USA last Friday. They both got the nod again on Tuesday night against Wales.

Ahead of the Wales clash, Man Utd legend, Rio Ferdinand, pointed to Ten Hag’s tactics as to why Maguire has fallen from grace at club level.

Ten Hag to blame for Maguire decline?

Ten Hag has instructed his back-line to adopt a higher starting position in order to ensure his side is both more compact and better-placed to press the opposition.

However, doing so leaves huge gaps between the defence and goalkeeper, something that leaves those lacking pace – such as Maguire – exposed.

Initially waxing lyrical about Maguire’s displays for the Three Lions, Ferdinand told BBC One (via the MEN): “He was (England’s best player vs USA). He got his 50th cap in that game, and I think there’s been a lot of criticism levelled at him.

“Some justification in terms of a Man United shirt but for England he’s been supreme, in tournament football especially. At times it (criticism) is over the top but the difference (between Man United and England form) is here.

“Seven corners went into the box (vs USA), he headed out five. That shows you the dominance he has and one of the good big reasons he’s in this team.

“Not only that in terms of heading balls and clearing things, his distribution, taking the ball, very much a part of his game that comes out (with England) and you see the good side of him.

“He’s looked so comfortable and composed in an England shirt at this level so far that you hope that it continues.”

Man Utd expose Maguire – Rio Ferdinand

Drilling down on why Maguire’s form differs so wildly between club and country, Ferdinand added: “In a Man United team the centre-backs need to be 10 yards inside the opposition half which creates more space in between them and the goalkeeper to expose one of the weaknesses in his ability which is his pace.

“For England, he gets protected a little bit, you have to do that with certain players, but it helps him, and he definitely then flourishes.”

While Ferdinand does raise a valid point, it may be a simple case of right place wrong manager for Maguire.

Ten Hag is unlikely to alter his tactical beliefs for any one player. The turmoil surrounding Cristiano Ronaldo over the last four months is proof of that.

As such, while Maguire may still be the right man for England, he no longer appears to be for a Ten Hag-managed Man Utd.

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