No one should have been surprised by the news that Harry Maguire is no longer the captain of Manchester United. The defender was only skipper in name after slipping all the way down the pecking order to fifth-choice centre-back last season, and it had long been reported that Erik ten Hag was going to officially strip him of the armband this summer.
Maguire had been an able if unremarkable captain during the Ole Gunnar Solskjaer years and was particularly important in United's run to second place and the Europa League final in the 2020-21 season. But after his form dramatically declined over the next two campaigns there were always going to be doubts about his position in the long term.
And it made no sense for a player who started only eight Premier League matches last season to have such a prestigious role. Indeed, Maguire was only brought on in the Carabao Cup final against Newcastle so that he could lift the trophy. That was a nice touch from Ten Hag but it also served to highlight the fact Maguire was no longer a suitable captain due to his declining presence in the team.
Maguire didn't even get on the pitch in the FA Cup final against Manchester City and towards the end of the season, Ten Hag started to refer to Bruno Fernandes as captain even though the England defender was still officially skipper.
Fernandes is the No. 1 candidate to succeed Maguire permanently, but there are a number of other contenders for the role. GOAL runs through the choices...