Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has backed Harry Maguire [photo courtesy]

Manchester United captain Harry Maguire has been an “absolute stalwart” on and off the field and the England international will silence his critics, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said.

United have slipped to sixth on the Premier League table after losing four of their last six matches, including a 5-0 thrashing by Liverpool and a 2-0 defeat to rivals Manchester City, both at home.

Maguire, who was named club captain in January 2020, has struggled for form this season but Solskjaer said he did not consider stripping the defender of the captaincy.

“No, I have not considered taking the captain’s armband away from him,” Solskjaer said in comments published on United’s website https://www.manutd.com/en/news/detail/ole-gunnar-solskjaer-backs-harry-maguire-to-silence-his-critics-19-nov-2021 on Saturday.

“He’s been an absolute stalwart on and off the pitch for us since he came in and he’s been a true leader in all aspects.

“We’ve all been very happy with him and we will back him because he is such a top professional. He is going to prove those critics wrong.”

Maguire drew criticism from former players, including ex-United captain Roy Keane, for his finger-in-ear goal celebration when he scored for England in their win over Albania last week.

“I know the so-called experts have their opinions, and that’s their job to put their opinions across, but that’s not something we have to worry too much about,” Solskjaer added.

“As a true example of a Manchester United player, Harry is always there for his team and his country.”

Solskjaer said he expects midfielder Paul Pogba to return from his thigh injury after Christmas.

The 28-year-old picked up the injury while on international duty with France last week ahead of their World Cup qualifiers.

“I would say months rather than weeks,” Solskjaer said of Pogba’s return date.

“Sometimes you hope for six or seven weeks and the worst case scenario is 10, 11, 12 weeks with muscle injuries like this… Hopefully, just after Christmas, we can see him.”

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