Nemanja Vidic has suggested that Manchester United drop Harry Maguire for “harder matches” and play him in “easier games” until his confidence recovers.
Maguire has been in desperately poor form for United, who are seventh in the Premier League table and have won just one of their last seven games in all competitions.
The centre-back’s captaincy has been questioned and he was booed while away on international duty with England, despite being named in last summer’s Euro 2020 Team of the Tournament.
After Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Everton, United legend Vidic encouraged his former club to take Maguire out of the firing line and play him only against easier opponents to enable him to rediscover his best form.
“Every player has a problem with form at some time in his career,” he told The Athletic.
“I did and it’s clear that Maguire is not at his best this season. I think you can do a few things and one of them is not to play every match as you try to find form again and get confidence. A coach could play him in easier games, not that there are many in the Premier League, and take him out for harder matches.
“The player needs to feel powerful and strong on the pitch again, not as it is now where he feels that it’s not happening for him. It’s difficult to play well when you’re under so much pressure because people are waiting for you to make a mistake.
“You’re asking me this and I’m replying as a coach.”
He continued: “It’s not a problem if a player says to his coach that he’s not feeling great on the pitch. If he says: ‘Give me a break, give me a couple of weeks to regroup and train well and then play again’. I had some horrible games for United and needed to find my peace and grow again.”
Defeat to Everton leaves United in seventh, six points off Tottenham Hotspur in fourth. Their next league fixture is a home clash with Norwich before they return to Merseyside to face high-flying Liverpool.