Former Manchester United star Rio Ferdinand said struggling United skipper Harry Maguire should be given some time to recoup on the sidelines following the England international’s poor start to the season.
Under-fire Maguire, 27, was red-carded in England’s loss to Denmark, and has been mired in poor form since the Premier League season began and Ferdinand has suggested that he should be afforded some time out of the spotlight in an attempt to recover his form.
“In these situations – that I’ve been in, as well – you sometimes need to be taken out of the oven,” Ferdinand said.
“Ole [Gunnar Solksjaer] has a big job on his hands and I think quite an important role to play in this.
“Whether maybe it’s time to give him a little rest, let him gather himself and build that confidence back up.”
Manchester United have had a less than impressive start to the campaign, losing two of their opening three games and shipping 11 goals in the process, including six in a home defeat to Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur.
Maguire has been under extra scrutiny following his arrest in August on the Greek island of Mykonos, and suggestions that the media focus on him has caused his dip in form has again came to the fore following his dismissal for receiving two yellow cards in England’s home defeat to the Danes this week.
As Ferdinand explained, this could be an opportunity for Solskjaer to take the pressure off his captain and afford him time to refocus away from the game.
“I got brought off in one game, I think it was Middlesbrough away, the manager [Sir Alex Ferguson] spoke to me and said ‘get yourself back to basics, train well and you’ll come back in‘.
“That’s what happened and I was fine. It’s just sometimes that bit of pressure being taken out that can actually help you.”
Ferdinand is one the most successful defenders in the modern era of Manchester United, winning six Premier League titles under Ferguson’s stewardship – but says that the seemingly unending schedule of domestic and European fixtures can appear daunting to a player who is out of form.
“When you’re going game-to-game every three or four days, it’s very hard to see through the fog,” said Ferdinand.
“But when you’re taken out of the firing line, you get time to sit back and actually analyze yourself, your performance, your preparation, your recovery – all aspects of what goes around a football match or 90 minutes.”
Manchester United resume Premier League action following the international break on Saturday evening away to Newcastle United, and all eyes will be on Solksjaer’s teamsheet, which will be revealed at around 7pm local time.