Rio Ferdinand has hit out at criticism directed towards Manchester United captain Harry Maguire, who has been labelled ‘selfish’ ahead of the European Championship.
Maguire is a member of Gareth Southgate’s 26-man squad for the tournament, which begins on Friday, but is carrying an injury and is unlikely to be fit to feature in the group stage.
That has led to some accusations that Maguire is being ‘selfish’ for not withdrawing from the squad, like Mason Greenwood did, and allowing someone else to take his place.
Ferdinand was far from amused with those comments though and made it clear what Maguire will be thinking heading into the tournament.
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“With Maguire, by the time he plays at the end of the group stages, it’s probably seven or eight weeks where he has not kicked a ball. He’s going to need three or four games to get fit, have we got enough games by that stage to wait for him?” He said on the FIVE YouTube channel.
“Listen, I hear people to say he’s selfish for going, you ask anyone if they’ve got a chance to go to a World Cup or European Championship and the manager says he’ll take you, no one in their right mind is going to go ‘I’m going to hold my hand up, I’m only 50% fit, I’m going to give a youngster a chance’.
“No chance. All these people saying he is selfish, shut up. If it was you, you would go, trust me. I’ve seen so many people, fans online, any pro in their right mind, if he feels he’s got half a chance of playing and he can get through it, they will go.
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“It’s a different case if he’s carrying and injury and he knows he isn’t going to get through it, that’s selfish, but someone who is thinking ‘I haven’t played many games but I think I’ll be able to get through, you back yourself, that’s what top pros do.”
However, Ferdinand did admit that he feels that taking Maguire is the wrong decision and questioned whether he’ll make an impact.
“As a manager, history tells you that taking players who are not fit and are limping into tournaments, it doesn’t work. I hope it works, I really do, but I will not be surprised if they break down or if they go into games and don’t show their best form because they’re not fit.”