Martin Keown: “Maguire ISN’T the problem at Man United”.

Martin Keown: “Maguire ISN’T the problem at Man United”.

Martin Keown believes rival Premier League teams can ‘drive buses’ through Manchester United’s defence, but insists under-fire Harry Maguire isn’t the problem.

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United have limped haphazardly during the opening month of the new English top-flight season, winning two games, losing the same amount and sitting 11th in the league standings and already 12 points adrift of Manchester City.

Their last outing before the international break saw Keown’s former side Arsenal sweep United aside 3-1 at the Emirates in a largely underwhelming performance from the visitors.

Maguire played 90 minutes in England’s 1-1 draw with Ukraine on Saturday, meaning he has now played more for country than club this season, but Martin Keown believes United’s biggest problem is in midfield, not defence.

‘Some of us talk about driving buses through football teams, and, I think you could do that right now with Manchester United,’ Keown told talkSPORT.

‘It’s really the midfield that’s the issue and Harry Maguire isn’t necessarily the problem.’

The centre-back’s solo venture for United this season came at the Emirates where he was brought on as a second half substitute in place of the injured Lisandro Martinez.

He played 23 minutes with United conceding twice in that time after Declan Rice and Gabriel Jesus struck late in stoppage time to seal three points for the Gunners.

Maguire’s introduction brought mocking cheers from the home supporters and he was largely blamed after the game for contributing to United’s downfall in the capital.

The issues for the Red Devils are wide-ranging, with their midfield appearing to lack protection and balance as Ten Hag seeks to find a consistent winning formula.

Casemiro has struggled to replicate his defensive quality in the middle of the field that saw him excel during his debut year in the Premier League last season, new captain Bruno Fernandes is responsible for creating chances and there are question marks over who should be the third starting midfielder alongside the pair.

Mason Mount was expected to be the pivot between Casemiro and Fernandes, however he is currently side-lined, leaving Ten Hag with a choice of either Eriksen, Scott McTominay or newest recruit Sofyan Amrabat.

United have conceded seven goals in their last three Premier League games and have the worst goal difference out of any of the traditional ‘big six’ on -1.

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