Rio Ferdinand explains why Manchester United may struggle to win the title with Harry Maguire
Harry Maguire has experienced a difficult season for Manchester United, resulting in him attracting a wave of criticism
Former defender Rio Ferdinand has raised doubts about whether Manchester United will be able to ever launch a genuine Premier League title charge whilst their defence is centred around Harry Maguire.
The England international has struggled for form this season and has been frequently criticised by United fans and pundits alike. He was dropped for Saturday's goalless draw at home to Watford, with Victor Lindelof preferred at centre-back alongside Raphael Varane, meaning uncertainty currently surrounds his future.
Excellent for the Three Lions during their run to the final of the European Championship last summer, Maguire has, seemingly, experienced an ever-lasting hangover, producing a series of questionable performances. He has been criticised on countless occasions this term, including during last Wednesday's 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid in the Champions League.
Now, former United man Ferdinand has questioned whether Maguire's presence at Old Trafford could stop the Reds from challenging for the title, pointing to his lack of pace as being his biggest concern.
Ferdinand told Vibe with Five: "Is Maguire going to enable you to win the league? That's a question as well.
"The thing about someone like Ralf Rangnick and all the top teams now is when they play, they play on the front foot and want to win the ball high. Therefore, you need defenders that can defend on the halfway line 1v1, 2v2 or 3v2 if you want that security.
"But if you can play 2v2 or 1v1 on the halfway line, that enables you to have more bodies in the opponents' half. Hence why teams do that, to win the ball early and be closer to the opposition goal to score goals.
"Liverpool do it tremendously well, Manchester City do it really well, Bayern Munich do it. Three of the best teams on the planet and everyone is going that way of playing football. Rangnick's style is like that.
"Can you do that with Maguire? That's my problem, that's my issue. His pace doesn't allow for that, he's always going to be looking over his shoulder.
"If I'm a quick centre-forward or a quick attacker, I would be hanging around where Maguire is. For all the good traits he has in his game, that is a big weakness and that is a fundamental of all the top teams, to play 1v1 on the halfway.
"For Maguire, long-term, unless he can find an extra yard of pace it's going to be difficult for him.
"You have to be able to do that. Top teams, top players can do that.