August 2, 2021

Former Man Utd captain Robson impressed by Maguire leadership after gaining armband

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The legendary former Red Devils skipper sees qualities in the England international defender that make him a perfect leader at Old Trafford

Former Manchester United captain Bryan Robson has hailed the progress made by Harry Maguire at Old Trafford and insists he has helped provide the leadership that has been missing from the first-team squad.

Filling the armband at Old Trafford requires a special kind of talent and personality.

Few fit the mould, but Maguire has shown that he is capable of following in the footsteps of some iconic figures.

He took on captaincy duties during a memorable debut campaign in Manchester, with rapid progress made by the England international following a record-breaking £80 million ($109m) transfer in 2019.

The odd question has been asked of Maguire’s contribution under the brightest of spotlights, but the 27-year-old has looked to lead by example in a welcome return to prominence for United.

Red Devils great Robson has saluted those efforts, telling The Sun: “I saw when Harry first arrived that he needed to organise people and communicate a bit more but he has grown into the job.

“Now you see him pointing and directing and helping people out. And a few of the new players have followed that lead – such as Bruno Fernandes, Edinson Cavani.

“You can see them working hard to pull the side together and get the team’s shape back when they lose the ball.

“Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay have taken that on board as well so the team as a whole is improving on that side of things.

“Harry, he’s a top player. The only thing he might get criticised for is pace but he reads things really well, gets great blocks in, he’s brilliant in the air defensively.

“It just took him a little bit of time to get the confidence to come into a club like Manchester United and demand from people around him.

“Sometimes you go into a club and it takes you a little bit of time to settle down.

“You don’t want to look as if you’re bucking for captain and demanding and shouting at people when you don’t know them that well.

“Part of what Harry had brought has been missing from United over the last four or five years is that players haven’t demanded from each other.

“The Class of ’92, my team that had Paul Ince, Roy Keane, Steve Bruce, Eric Cantona – we demanded off each other and that’s why we got success.

“You can’t just go on a football pitch and look after yourself.

“You’ve got to demand not only from yourself but the others and push them to the limits. Sir Alex built three teams who did that.

“Now Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is going down that same direction and the right lines are that every player has to want more of himself and everybody around him. To win things that’s what you’ve got to do.

“It’s not upsetting people for the sake of it – it’s about helping those around you to give that bit more to win things.

“And hopefully the team can keep on those lines with Harry and the other boys.

“Doing that you get a good team spirit going and the next thing then is just to win something to give that extra bit of confidence. Harry is going to be central to that.”

Maguire has helped United to push their way back into Premier League title contention this season, with a standing at the top of the table taken up some eight years on from the last of Sir Alex Ferguson’s 13 triumphs.