Harry Maguire and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Harry Maguire has been “more subdued” since Cristiano Ronaldo returned to Manchester United, as concerns over dressing room cliques at the club escalate.
A report in the Daily Mail says that the mood at the club’s Carrington training base is “very low” as players struggle to adjust to life under interim manager Ralf Rangnick.
There are concerns over cliques developing within the squad, and the installation of six four-seater booths in the canteen is thought to have added to the problem.
Harry Maguire’s leadership struggle.
The report also says that ‘players are struggling to adjust to Rangnick’s later training sessions and left in the dark at 5pm on Tuesday.’
Meanwhile, club captain Maguire is thought to be ‘more subdued’ since the return of Cristiano Ronaldo, something which was picked up on by Gary Neville on this week’s edition of Monday Night Football.
? "I don't think they are all with each other in that dressing room."
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) December 27, 2021
Gary Neville: “Harry Maguire doesn’t feel like the captain.”
“There’s a bit of a leadership struggle going on,” the ex-United defender said.
“Maguire is the captain but he doesn’t feel like the captain. I think Cristiano’s come in, he’s upset maybe Bruno (Fernandes) in terms of that hierarchy in the team… It just doesn’t feel like the mix of what’s going on is right.
“Ralf Rangnick has only been here a few weeks so his not going to be able to sort that out. (Previous manager) Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was struggling with it towards the last two or three months.”
Neville went further on Ronaldo and Fernandes’ influences in the dressing room and on the pitch, while singling out Edinson Cavani as a player who will stand up to the superstar pair.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes.
“Ronaldo and Bruno, those are the two senior players in that dressing room. It’s devastating for the young players if the two best players in the team are looking at the others as if they’re not good enough.
“Cavani takes that away because I don’t think he wilts in the presence of Ronaldo or a Fernandes.”
Neville was speaking after the Red Devils’ lacklustre 1-1 draw with Newcastle United on Monday night and taking to Twitter on Wednesday morning, he suggested that it was time for the players to clear the air.
“On United I’m seeing reports of dressing room dissatisfaction this morning. Something wasn’t right v Norwich and certainly not v Newcastle . Still 4 pts from those games is not a disaster considering the performance levels . Have a meeting ( without staff ) and sort it out!’ he posted.
Man United’s will have an opportunity to show the world that they are still fighting for each other when Burnley visit Old Trafford on Thursday evening, with a kick-off time of 8.15pm.