Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer found no place for club captain Harry Maguire when he was discussing the leaders in his dressing room.
An £80m signing in 2019, Maguire regularly wore the captain's armband during his debut season at Old Trafford, taking the role permanently following the departure of left-back Ashley Young to Inter in January 2020.
Solskjaer has always spoken highly of Maguire, but when asked about the strength of his dressing room in the build-up to Sunday's FA Cup tie with Liverpool, the boss chose to focus his praise on other players instead.
“I think that runs through the squad and that’s part of my thinking when you bring players in,” he said (via The Express) when asked about the importance of big characters behind the scenes. “You don’t just bring big talents in, you research their character as much as you can to have the right types.
“Because there are always players who think ‘there’s a game next week and I’ll still get my wages’. That’s the mentality we had to get away from. I wanted players to come here to push the boundaries, the levels and drive it on from the inside.
“It can’t come just from the outside. With players like Bruno [Fernandes], Edinson [Cavani] and Paul Pogba, I feel I have a dressing room that is driven to success. That makes my job easier – 100%. When you talk the talk, you have to walk the walk.”
Solskjaer then went on to compare the trio to United legends Roy Keane, Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs, praising their ability to keep other players focused.
"We had players here when I played – Roy Keane, Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs – they drove it on,” he continued. "When they spoke you knew you had no leg to stand on to argue, because you knew that they did it every single day.
“And that’s what we need from our players. Many of us in the game have been in dressing rooms where people talk – but you think what are you talking about? They talk the talk, but don’t really walk the walk. Put your money where your mouth is.
“But the players we’re talking about – Pogba and Cavani and Bruno – they’ve been there, they know what it takes and they demand it off their team-mates.”