Rio Ferdinand believes naming Harry Maguire as Manchester United was done a bit too early and the armband should have instead been given to goalkeeper David de Dea.
“The fact that he has had the armband has given him that grace, which it would do,” the 43-year-old told Vibe with Five .
“I think he was given it too early. It’s a hard enough job coming into Manchester United, getting your feet under the table and starting to feel comfortable as it is without the added pressure of being captain.
“Being captain is a massive responsibility, there is history that goes with it, a big weight on your shoulders.
“You need to experience being there for a period of time to carry that weight. It was more important for Maguire to come in and concentrate on becoming a Manchester United mainstay than being captain.”
“The thing you can counter that [Maguire criticism] with is that there weren’t many captains at the club – who else are they going to pick?”
“David de Gea would have been my choice because of the time he’s been there and he knows what it takes to win.
“This is all with hindsight but you have to got to think about these times that might come with someone like Harry Maguire, new at the club in that sense. And that added pressure is weighing on him heavily at the moment.”
The 28-year-old was named United skipper in January 2020 by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, just five months after he moved to Old Trafford in a world-record £80million transfer from Leicester.
The Englishman’s leadership has been in the spotlight in recent months during a turbulent season for the Red Devils which has involved humiliating defeats by arch-rivals Liverpool and Manchester City, a change in the dugout and murmurs of unrest in the dressing room.
Many suspect Maguire’s form has suffered as a result of being captain as he has marshalled the United defence to a meagre tally of four clean sheets in 18 top-flight games this campaign.
Ferdinand admits there are a lack of leaders in interim manager Ralf Rangnick’s squad, but he believes De Gea would be a good choice for the armband having been on United’s books for over a decade.