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Gary Neville believes young players in the Manchester United dressing room may find it hard to see who is leading the pack amid the club’s recent struggles.
United have won two and drawn one of their last three Premier League matches but are eight points off the top four following a poor campaign so far.
The club have had a number of ups and downs both on and off-the-field in recent years, with dips in form and negative publicity for various players too much of a regular occurrence for the Red Devils’ liking.
Erik ten Hag stripped Harry Maguire of the captaincy when he joined the club, handing it to Bruno Fernandes, but the Portugal star has too received criticism for his leadership of the squad at times.
Neville was speaking on the Stick to Football podcast, brought to you by Sky Bet, when he criticised his former side, suggesting more of the team need to step up to help the squad.
Gary Neville has admitted that young players in Manchester United’s dressing room may find it hard to tell who is leading the group
Bruno Fernandes is United’s captain, though has at times received criticism for his leadership
Neville played in a number of successful United sides with various strong leaders in the squad
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‘It’s a massive factor, the dressing room that you come into as a young player and the influence and standard bearers in the dressing room,’ he said.
‘These [Manchester] United lads who have come through in the last five to eight years, if you’re a young lad coming through at Liverpool and Manchester City you’ve got a good chance, whereas if you’re at United now, you’re thinking who’s guiding that dressing room.’
Neville was part of a United squads that included characters such as Wayne Rooney, Paul Scholes and podcast co-star Roy Keane, with the team often praised for its number of leaders throughout Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign.
Neville went onto suggest that it is time for academy graduate Marcus Rashford to start showing leadership
Rashford has been the centre of attention at United recently following a Belfast bender that saw him miss the club’s win over Newport
Many of Neville’s team-mates, as well as himself, graduated United’s academy, but that’s been a rarer sight in the last few years.
The former defender compared one man who has followed in his foot steps, Marcus Rashford, to Keane, on the back of the forward’s Belfast bender.
‘Roy Keane only started to assume the mantle of being the dominant inspirational character at the age of 26 at Manchester United,’ he said. ‘Marcus Rashford is nothing like Roy Keane in personality or character.’
Jamie Carragher argued that Rashford can show character through his body language and attitude going forward
Jamie Carragher, also speaking on the podcast, added: ‘Marcus Rashford doesn’t need to be like Roy Keane, he must lead and show character in a different way.
‘Someone like Steven Gerrard, who was a completely different player to Rashford. Someone like me who would be shouting and screaming at people, at the referee and other players, and Stevie showed leadership through his whole ability and the respect he had from the other players.
‘I’m not saying Rashford needs to go round shouting at everyone, but his body language needs to change and being the person, you want him to be when someone becomes a leader.’
Gary Neville was speaking on the Stick to Football podcast, brought to you by Sky Bet