Erik ten Hag has addressed Harry Maguire’s role in the Manchester United squad.
It’s no secret that the 29-year-old has fallen out of favour since the arrival of Ten Hag at Old Trafford and it’s largely due to the first two matches under his managerial reign, in which United lost both opening games of the Premier League season with an aggregate scoreline of 6-1.
Since then, Maguire has been used sparingly and has been named in the starting lineup just one additional time all season, with the manager opting for a centre-back partnership of Raphael Varane and summer signing Lisandro Martinez. The pair have looked well-suited and invaluable in United’s backline.
When the Frenchman picked up an injury against Chelsea in October, responsibility then fell to Victor Lindelof, who was deployed in Varane’s absence. Lindelof fell ill shortly before the Red Devils’ clash with West Ham and, consequently, Maguire was awarded a start.
Given his solid performances representing England in Qatar, it’s now raised questions regarding what role the defender will play when club football resumes.
Ten Hag’s comments on Maguire’s situation
Ten Hag spoke about his club captain to The Athletic: “I can only back him. I’ve been asked many times if he is good enough (to play for me) and it is clear he is good enough to play at the highest level. And then it is up to him to show that confidence on the pitch. He didn’t show that in all the games.
“When he is playing with his confidence like now, he is a massively important player for us and that is what everyone expects. That’s what Harry expects from himself. He has that high standard, he wants to play at the highest level, he wants to lead the defensive line, so it is up to him. I’m sure he has the potential to play in our style and fit into our system.
”He has, for England, good games almost all the time. He had a period in Manchester where he performed badly and then of course there are difficulties — but when he is confident in himself, he will put that on the pitch.
“When he is working hard, you will get that confidence and you are seeing that with the way he is playing for England. We want him to bring that back to Manchester United. I expect from him, the team knows what they expect from him. If he does that, he will be a great player for us.
”When I choose Rapha it is nothing against Harry. Sometimes it is because one player is a lot better than the other. But I think I have two or three good players there in the right centre-back position.
“Rapha is doing a good job. There are laws of the game in top football where you have to take your chance. Your chance will always come. The only thing he has to do is train well, perform well. He has games, he has rhythm and his chance will come.”