Harry Maguire could benefit from being “taken out of the oven” and given a rest to regain his form, former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has said.
Maguire’s miserable season for club and country continued on Wednesday night as he was sent off in England’s Nations League defeat to Denmark at Wembley.
National team boss Gareth Southgate has backed Red Devils captain Maguire, who was involved in a high-profile court case in Greece at the start of the season, to come through this “difficult period” and ex-United player Ferdinand said being taken out of the firing line could work for Maguire, as it had for him.
He believes United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a key role to play in what happens next.
“In these situations – that I’ve been in as well, you sometimes need to be taken out of the oven,” BT Sport analyst Ferdinand, who was speaking as EE announced that its customers will be among the first to gain access to Match Day Experience, a new set of immersive viewing features on the BT Sport app.
“Ole has a big job on his hands and I think quite an important role to play in this. Whether maybe it’s time to give him a little rest, let him gather himself and build that confidence back up.
“Sometimes just taking yourself out of the firing line for one game. I got brought off in one game, I think it was Middlesbrough away, the manager (Sir Alex Ferguson) spoke to me and said ‘get yourself back to basics, train well and you’ll come back in’.
“That’s what happened and I was fine. It’s just sometimes that bit of pressure being taken out that can actually help you.
“I know a lot of players will see that as an absolute stain on their resume but it’s sometimes something that’s needed. I definitely benefited from it and it’s maybe something Ole and his management team may look at.”
Ferdinand was asked what a player can do to rebuild confidence.
“It’s having that time to reflect,” he said.
“When you’re going game-to-game every three or four days, it’s very hard to see through the fog.
In these situations – that I’ve been in as well, you sometimes need to be taken out of the oven
Rio Ferdinand on Harry Maguire
“But when you’re taken out of the firing line, you get time to sit back and actually analyse yourself, your performance, your preparation, your recovery – all aspects of what goes around a football match or 90 minutes.
“It’s then about rebuilding yourself and playing simple. Effectively trying to get through a game without being seen.
“It might sound silly but that’s the way I used to look at it when I was lacking a little bit of confidence. Because at the moment you’re being seen for all the wrong reasons.
“So to go through a game without being seen and being almost a bit invisible but getting through – winning a game, keeping a clean sheet. Building blocks.”
:: Match Day Experience on the BT Sport app, the UK’s most immersive sports viewing service, will be inclusive for new customers taking the Full Works iPhone plan with the new 5G iPhone. Visit ee.co.uk for more from October 16.