John O'Shea leaps to the defence of under fire United captain Harry Maguire

Former Manchester United defender John O’Shea has backed Harry Maguire to overcome his tough spell.

The Reds interim boss Ralf Rangnick recalled the club’s captain for yesterday’s Manchester derby after Raphael Varane was ruled out after testing positive for Covid-19 earlier in the week.

United’s number five just like every other player in the side endured a horror show of an afternoon at the Etihad Stadium as Manchester City cruised to a 4-1 win.

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Despite being the most expensive defender in football at £80m (BBC Sport), question marks have been raised whether the 29-year-old is good enough to spearhead a United defence that can challenge for major trophies once again.

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The England international’s glaring lack of pace is an issue that the Red Devils haven’t yet found a way around.

But while O’Shea, who won five Premier League titles at Manchester United, accepts that the former Leicester City man’s performances haven’t been up to scratch, he has backed Maguire to come out of this challenging spell.

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Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live earlier, O’Shea said: “He’s a top international defender. He’s having a bit of a tough spell but it’s not just him.

“It’s amazing when you listen to the calls. Fans are so emotional and rightly so. That’s why you love and support teams, but of those fans, when Harry Maguire was playing for England, they were loving him.

“Harry is a good player but he’s probably just having a tough spell and he’s got to come through it.

“It’s one of those things that everything gets highlighted at the moment and you just have to train hard and come through these moments.”

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With Varane hopefully fit enough to return against Tottenham on Saturday, Rangnick will have to decide whether to stick with Maguire or take him out the firing line.

It could well be that the German decides to drop Victor Lindelof and starts Maguire and Varane together.

In the 10 games this season that Maguire and Varane have started and finished the full 90 minutes together, United are unbeaten with five wins and five draws.

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Passionate Football fan that completed a NCTJ-accredited Diploma in Multimedia Sports Journalism in 2016.