Ralf Rangnick has suggested incoming Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag puts the Red Devils captaincy to a players’ vote, placing doubt over Harry Maguire’s role as skipper.
Maguire was named captain following the departure of Ashley Young to Inter in January 2020, just five months after the centre-back’s £80 million transfer from Leicester City – the world record fee for a defender.
England international Maguire has come under scrutiny for both his performances and captaincy, with United struggling in the Premier League and out of all cup competitions.
United are sixth in the league and unlikely to qualify for the Champions League, sitting six points behind fourth-placed Arsenal – who defeated Rangnick’s side 3-1 on Saturday and have played a game fewer.
The future of Cristiano Ronaldo and seemingly outbound Paul Pogba remains in question, with several more players also out of contract at Old Trafford as Ajax coach Ten Hag prepares for a sizeable rebuilding task.
One of the Dutchman’s first tasks will be deciding on the leader in the dressing room, and Rangnick has recommended United players vote on who their next captain should be.
Asked whether Maguire will retain the captain’s armband next season, Rangnick told reporters: “Again, I understand your question but again, it doesn’t make sense because we don’t know what kind of players will be here, what the group will look like.
“I can only tell you what I have done in the past when I was head coach or manager because in Germany it’s called ‘Mannschaftskapitan’ – the captain of the team.
“I strongly believe the captain should be elected by the team because he’s called the team manager, and we always did that.
“We always had a board of four or five players – we called it the Spielerrat [players’ council] – elected by the players. The player with the highest amount of votes was the team captain at the end. That was how I did it.
“I know a lot of head coaches don’t do it that way. That’s what I would do if I was still the manager next season but in the end, I’m not. This is something that Erik will have to decide.”
Our interim boss has made a pledge for the future: to work with Erik ten Hag and help drive us forwards #MUFC
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) April 27, 2022
Recruitment will also be a key factor for the rejuvenation of United, with Rangnick operating in a consultancy role alongside Ten Hag, who has previously suggested he demands some ruling over transfers.
Rangnick expressed his excitement to work with Ten Hag as the pair look to turn around United’s fortunes next season.
“I strongly believe that there are a lot of things that can become better and will become better with a new manager and hopefully with some new players, with some fresh energy in that squad,” he added.
“With this group of new players and the quality of players that are already here, together with the new manager, I am very positive that next season will be a lot better.
“I am looking forward to working in that advisory role and obviously helping Erik as much as he wants it himself.
“In my last two clubs, we never a signed a player without the approval of the manager and I’m pretty sure this will be the case with Erik.
“I’m also positive that Erik will make some suggestions, then together with the board, together with the scouting department and possibly myself, we will then hopefully decide the right players.
“Obviously, I am more than willing and prepared to help both Erik and whomever in the club in order to change everything for the better.”
However, former RB Leipzig coach Rangnick is yet to speak with the incoming Ten Hag due to the latter’s commitments with Ajax.
“[Ten Hag’s] focus is on Ajax now and trying to win the title there, my focus for the next few weeks is on our club, on getting the best possible results,” the German continued.
“Whenever he has time, or would like to speak, yes I am available, but I would not want to contact him on my own account now.”
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