'I feel sorry for him' – Man Utd stars are letting Harry Maguire down and not playing to his strengths, says Merson

PAUL MERSON says he feels 'sorry' for Manchester United captain Harry Maguire as he's being let down by his team-mates.

The Red Devils club captain was forced to rubbish rumours of a rift with Cristiano Ronaldo over the captaincy.

And Maguire has also come under fire for his performances in a United shirt this season.

But former Arsenal player Merson says he feels 'sorry' for Maguire as he's not 'protected' on the pitch.

The Sky Sports pundit said: "I feel sorry for Harry Maguire, I don't think they play to his strengths.

"The players on the pitch are letting him down, he needs more protection.

"I know people say 'oh he's £80m' but I don't care – you get someone running at you on a consistent basis and it's a big old pitch Old Trafford, you don't want to be coming out."

Merson took aim at Man Utd's midfield, particularly the two 'sitters' who are meant to protect the back four.

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He continued: "Harry Maguire, you know I said from day one, I thought it would be a little bit of a struggle playing on the half-way line.

"I thought he's not blessed with a lot of pace but at the end of the day he still has to get protection.

"I don't care who you are as a centre-half, their holding players don't sit as the sitters, they're all over the place.

"They're having a shot on the edge of the box, over on the left, right, you're a holding midfield player you sit in front and protect the back four.

"I don't care if you're the best centre-half in the world, if you keep getting run at and there's a lot of space in the channels you're going to have a hard time."

Maguire turned in a good performance in the 4-2 win over fierce rivals Leeds on Sunday.

The centre-back scored United's first goal from a corner in the league this season from 140 attempts.

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