Ralf Rangnick urges Manchester United players to vote on next captain in Harry Maguire’s absence


Harry Maguire – Ralf Rangnick urges Manchester United players to vote on next captain in Harry Maguire’s absence – PA

Ralf Rangnick believes Manchester United’s squad should vote on who they want to be captain this summer as it emerged that the current embattled holder of the armband, Harry Maguire, is uncertain to play again this season.

Maguire is one of six senior players who has been ruled out of United’s Premier League game against Chelsea at Old Trafford on Thursday night, owing to a knee problem, along with Paul Pogba, Jadon Sancho, Luke Shaw, Fred and Edinson Cavani.

But it is thought that the injury could yet sideline Maguire for several weeks and potentially rule the England defender out of United’s final four matches of a miserable season.

Maguire was dropped by Rangnick for Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at Arsenal after a week in which his house became the target of a bomb threat and he performed badly in the 4-0 capitulation against Liverpool. Maguire’s sustained struggles have raised doubts about his suit as captain, although he has dismissed talk of a power struggle over the armband with Cristiano Ronaldo.

Alphonso Davies, the Bayern Munich defender, expressed surprise this month that Maguire was the United captain over Ronaldo and incoming manager Erik ten Hag could face a big decision over what to do about the situation as he bids to get a handle on a dressing room that has been riven with tensions and described as a “disaster” by Jesse Lingard.

But Rangnick has recommended leaving the United players to decide among themselves who should be captain next season, which would ape what Pep Guardiola does at Manchester City.

Asked if he would recommend Maguire for the captaincy to Ten Hag, the interim United manager said: “I understand your question but again it doesn’t make sense because we don’t know what kind of players will be here, what the group will look like.

“I can only tell you what I have done in the past when I was head coach or manager because in Germany it’s called Mannschaftskapitan – the captain of the team.

“I strongly believe the captain should be elected by the team because he’s called the team manager and we always did that. We always had a board of four or five players – we called it the Spielerrat [players’ council] – elected by the players.

“The player with the highest amount of votes was the team captain at the end. That was how I did it. I know a lot of head coaches don’t do it that way. That’s what I would do if I was still the manager next season, but at the end I’m not. This is something that Erik will have to decide.”

Speaking at Punchestown racecourse in Ireland on Wednesday, Sir Alex Ferguson expressed hope Ten Hag would bring order at Old Trafford: “I hope he does well,” the former United manager said. “The club needs someone to get in control.”

More protests are being planned by fans against the Glazer family, United’s owners, on Thursday evening, raising the prospect of another acrimonious backdrop to a home game. Rangnick has all but given up hope of a top-four finish but, while he has called on the team to end the season strongly and not throw in the towel, he admitted the prospect of United missing out on European football entirely could ultimately prove a blessing in disguise for Ten Hag.

Jürgen Klopp did not have any European distractions in his first full season as Liverpool manager, which gave him more time on the training ground to implement his methods, and Rangnick said he could see the benefit to that, even if it would hurt United financially and impact on this summer’s transfer budget.

“It could be an advantage, but that does not mean we will give away any of the remaining four games,” said Rangnick, who also has doubts over Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s fitness. “For us, it’s clear and our obligations. This is our job, my job, the job of the players that we try to get the best possible results and then see at the end of the season in which position we will finish.”



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