Before to the summer transfer season, Harry Maguire’s future at Manchester United was grim, but manager Erik ten Hag seems to have given him one last chance to stay at Old Trafford.
As manager Erik ten Hag made it very plain that Harry Maguire might be in line for a new position, Maguire’s Manchester United career may have been given one last chance.
The captain of the Red Devils is still the most expensive defender in football history, but this season he has dropped down the Old Trafford hierarchy. The former Leicester player has started just five Premier League games this season after falling behind Raphael Varane and summer acquisition Lisandro Martinez in the hierarchy of importance.
Ten Hag, though, gave a hint that Maguire might stay after all, saying that the England star had been practicing a slightly different defensive role under his guidance, which was evident in the FA Cup triumph against West Ham.
Speaking after the late victory over the Hammers, the Dutchman said: “It is my way of playing, or our way, and it is better. I prefer to have a player with a lot of initiative [at right centre-back] and when you are left-footed you have better angles [at left centre-back].
“Harry can play on the left but right is obviously much better and today [vs West Ham ] we have seen that. He had a good performance, he took initiative in and out of possession, and so he was dominating in defence but in offence he had some really good moments.
“He had good passes, good engagement with opponents and outplaying them. He played a good game.
“How are we supposed to assist him with that? Throughout training, we provide him with coaching and directions on how to do things. But in addition to that, not too long ago we showed him a video on how to outplay opponents and how he can have more of an impact when he is in possession and building up because his talents…his skills are really quite high. He possesses a sᴜʀᴘʀɪsɪɴɢ number of skills for a center back. He is required to make use of that in a game.
Because of Maguire’s ability to play a variety of positions, Ten Hag may come to the conclusion that he should remain a member of the club even after the current season has ended. If the former player from Leicester receives a larger share of the playing time, it will be much easier to convince him to stay with the team.
Maguire has already discussed his position with the Red Devils and assured that Ten Hag has complete faith in him. But, he also acknowledged the challenging road that lay ahead of him in order to be selected for the team. Following the Red Devils’ triumph in the Carabao Cup, he made the following remark: “The manager has been asked numerous times about my role in interviews, and he has told me honestly that he believes in me. Nonetheless, football is football.”
“The lads who are playing and beginning, Raphael [Varane] is playing really well and we’ve seen the manager’s ideas, what he wants, and he does prefer a left-footed center back playing,” Raphael said. “The boss does appreciate a left-footed center back playing.” Hence, there is a lot of competition for positions, but remember that this is Manchester United. We want to win trophies, and we want to win big trophies, but in order to do so, we need to compete.
“The manager is often in contact with me, he has a lot of respect for me, and he thinks that I am an excellent center back who possesses all of the necessary qualities to play for his squad. But he also recognizes that the players who are playing are doing very well, and I understand that he understands the same thing about the players who are playing.