Harry Maguire has named Rio Ferdinand as his ‘dream’ centre-back partner at Manchester United and even models his game on the Old Trafford icon.
Maguire, who joined United from Leicester in an £80million deal from Leicester last summer, has had a solid first season at the club, having been appointed skipper by manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The 27-year-old, an ever-present for the Red Devils throughout the 2019/20 campaign, has also shored up what has been a shaky backline in recent seasons before the coronavirus pandemic saw all football in the country get suspended.
Maguire, alongside Victor Lindelof, had kept nine clean sheets in a 11-match unbeaten sequence prior to then.
There have been many great defenders who have graced the Old Trafford turf over the years, including the likes of Nemanja Vidic, Steve Bruce and Jaap Stam.
But it is Ferdinand who has always stood out for Maguire, even from an early age.
“I think that is a tough question because there are so many excellent defenders that have been at this club, loads that I have looked up to and built my game around,” Maguire told the official Manchester United website.
“I would go with Rio Ferdinand. I have always spoken highly about Rio and the way that I looked up to him when I was younger.
“I tried to model my game around him and I learned so much from watching him, so I will go with Rio.”
The former Sheffield United youth prodigy issued high praise for Ferdinand earlier this season too, saying: “Rio Ferdinand took defending to another level, in terms of bringing the ball out from the back, stepping in and committing players.
“He’s the player who made me open my eyes and think “that’s what you need to be a top centre-back.”