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09th Aug 2023

Rio Ferdinand backs Harry Maguire to take on ‘new challenge’ as Man United exit nears

Callum Boyle

Rio Ferdinand Harry Maguire

I’m thinking ‘do you wanna wake up and play football like that?’

Rio Ferdinand has called for Harry Maguire to take on a new challenge as his days at Manchester United look to finally be coming to an end.

Sky Sports reported on Tuesday that West Ham United had agreed a £30m deal with United for the transfer of the defender, a £50m loss on the fee they paid to sign him from Leicester City in 2018.

Maguire had been captain at the club but lost his place in the starting XI last season following the form of Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane and even had his role as captain revoked by Erik ten Hag.

As he looks set to make the move to the London Stadium and start afresh, Ferdinand backed the England international to move on and reignite his career.

Speaking to SportsJOE, he said: “I just think he needs a new challenge.

“I was watching a friendly the other day and you can feel the bad energy in the stadium when he gets on the ball sometimes and I’m thinking ‘do you wanna wake up and play football like that? Do you wanna feel the energy in the stadium or in the media because you’re playing for the club?’ Just start afresh.”

That moment – with some fans booing Maguire and others cheering him, during a friendly against Athletic Bilbao in Dublin – is one of the key factors in Ferdinand urging the England international to move on.

Harry MaguireHarry Maguire pictured before the pre-season friendly match between Manchester United and Athletic Bilbao at Aviva Stadium in Dublin. (Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile)

Rio Ferdinand on cancelled meet-up with Harry Maguire

Rio Ferdinand revealed that he had spoken to Maguire earlier in his career but they never met up after comments from the former Man United defender.

“I reached out to him earlier in his career and we were going to get together but obviously things are said and my job is to critique and analyse,” he added.

“I’ve said some things about him that he probably didn’t like, I wouldn’t have liked some of things I’ve said if they were about me but there comes a point where you’ve got to be a bit honest. You’ve got to take the rough with the smooth.”

Maguire looks set to be joined by Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse after it was revealed by Jacob Steinberg that the Hammers had agreed a fee with the Saints for their skipper.

Edson Alvarez from Ajax also looks close to joining while Scott McTominay is also still linked.

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