Ferdinand hopes Man Utd ‘gamble’ can shove criticism ‘back down everyone’s throat’ at World Cup

Rio Ferdinand thinks England would be taking a massive “gamble” by starting Man Utd centre-back Harry Maguire at the World Cup.

Maguire has come under intense criticism over the last season or two with the England international making a number of mistakes.

The Man Utd defender has only started three Premier League matches this term with Erik ten Hag appearing to prefer a centre-back pairing of Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez.

Maguire retains the faith of England boss Gareth Southgate, who knows he’s been extremely reliable in an England shirt, with the Man Utd skipper called up to the Three Lions squad for the World Cup.

But Man Utd legend Ferdinand has warned Southgate that Maguire is low on confidence and that could present an issue if he decides to start him.

Ferdinand said on his Vibe with FIVE YouTube channel: “The only thing I would say about him is that the last tournament, where he got in the team of the tournament, had had hardly played going into that tournament. So, he’s experienced at doing that but the big difference is that he wasn’t going in having zero confidence.”

When asked if Maguire was picked on form, merit or other reasons, Ferdinand added: “I don’t see how Gareth Southgate puts him in the team against Iran first game and isn’t concerned and isn’t worried.

“Not based on football ability, based on confidence alone.”

Put to Ferdinand that Iran will be England’s easiest game, Ferdinand replied: “There are no easy games. Listen, have you seen that [Mehdi] Taremi is their striker? Plays for Porto, do your research and look at him please guys. Scores goals, scores goals, he’ll be a problem.

“But what I would say, is I don’t care how good you are, you’re going into a tournament, a World Cup, with no confidence. I don’t get it. And you know what? If Harry Maguire goes in there and shoves it back down everyone’s throat, good luck to him, I hope he does if he’s the one who plays. But it’s a gamble, man.”

Speaking to talkSPORT earlier this week, Ferdinand said: “I think you need to playing week in, week out.

“But I think Gareth’s a very loyal man, he knows what Harry Maguire brings him.

“Listen, Harry Maguire has never ever let him down in an England shirt, let’s be blunt about that.

“So that will I think carry some weight. But I don’t know, going into the tournament as a player who hasn’t played any football, it’s difficult.

“It’s different going in injured, he went into a tournament [Euro 2020] on the back of an injury remember and played well, but going in and not playing and having no rhythm as well, it’s hard work that.”

READ MORE: Transfer gossip: Man Utd to offload ‘sluggish’ defender and £52m midfield misfit

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