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Three players 'in running to replace Harry Maguire as Manchester United captain'

Three players 'in running to replace Maguire as Man United captain'
© Reuters
David de Gea, Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo will be considered for the captaincy at Manchester United if a change is made, according to a report.

David de Gea, Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo will reportedly be considered for the captaincy at Manchester United if Harry Maguire loses the armband this summer.

Maguire kept the role at Old Trafford during the 2021-22 campaign despite his struggles, but there have been suggestions that incoming head coach Erik ten Hag is considering making a change.

According to ESPN, the England international is not even certain of a starting role at Man United next season, with Ten Hag's desire to play a high defensive line working against the former Sheffield United youngster.

However, the club's new manager did say earlier this week that he was looking forward to working with the 29-year-old, branding him "a great player".

"I have to repeat that next season is a different season but I think he did a great job. He's a great player, he's achieved already a lot really also [with his] contribution to Manchester United. So I'm looking forward to working with him," the Dutchman told reporters at his press conference.

Crystal Palace's Conor Gallagher in action with Manchester United's Harry Maguire on May 22, 2022© Reuters

Maguire ended the 2021-22 campaign with two goals in 37 appearances at club level, but he only started one of his side's final five Premier League games of the season - the 1-0 loss at Crystal Palace on Sunday.

The Red Devils are expected to sign at least one new centre-back this summer, with Villarreal's Pau Torres and Ajax's Jurrien Timber believed to be leading targets for the club.

ESPN reports that Maguire could lose the captain's armband for next season, with De Gea, Fernandes and Ronaldo in the running if a change is made.

De Gea was in strong form for Man United last season despite conceding 66 goals in all competitions, with the team's defence struggling throughout the campaign.

The Spain international has now been at Old Trafford for 11 years, meanwhile, making 487 appearances in all competitions, and his experience makes him a strong candidate for the role.

Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea pictured in August 2021© Reuters

Fernandes, meanwhile, sported the armband late in the season in the absence of Maguire, and the Portugal international had another productive campaign, scoring 10 times and registering 14 assists in 46 appearances.

The 27-year-old has also committed his long-term future to the Red Devils by signing a new contract which will run until June 2026, with the option of a further 12 months.

Ronaldo is also set to stay at Old Trafford this summer despite the speculation surrounding his future, and the 37-year-old also enjoyed a strong season on a personal level, scoring 24 times in 38 appearances.

The Portugal captain has now made 330 appearances for Man United during two separate spells, but he only captained the 20-time English champions on one occasion in all competitions last season, which came against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League at the start of the year.

Ten Hag said that he was looking forward to managing Ronaldo when asked about the experienced striker during his press conference earlier this week.

"Of course (looking forward to managing Ronaldo). Ronaldo? Goals! (what will he bring). I talk first with Ronaldo before I talk with you," the Dutchman told reporters.

Man United will play Europa League football during the 2022-23 campaign, having finished sixth in this season's Premier League table behind Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal.

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Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring their first goal with Jadon Sancho and Alex Telles on March 12, 2022
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