‘We have to win as Manchester United’: Erik ten Hag insists he can’t guarantee Harry Maguire crucial minutes ahead of the World Cup… with the defender’s lack of game-time a concern for Gareth Southgate going into Qatar
- Harry Maguire has made just four starts for Manchester United this season
- Erik ten Hag preferred Victor Lindelof to Maguire against Real Sociedad
- The Dutchman is unable to guarantee Maguire minutes ahead of the World Cup
- His lack of minutes has been a concern for England boss Gareth Southgate
Erik ten Hag can’t guarantee Harry Maguire minutes before the World Cup as he has to put Manchester United’s interests ahead of England.
Gareth Southgate will announce his squad for Qatar next week and Maguire is certain to be included despite his lack of playing time for United this season. The 29-year-old has made just four starts and four more appearances as a substitute due to a leg injury and loss of form.
Maguire was sent on as a makeshift striker for the final eight minutes of Thursday’s Europa League win over Real Sociedad in San Sebastian, but couldn’t help get the crucial second goal that would have seen United top Group E and go straight into the last 16.
Harry Maguire’s lack of minutes going into the World Cup will be a concern for the Three Lions
Erik ten Hag can’t guarantee Maguire minutes as he has to put Manchester United’s interests ahead of England in the final games leading up to the World Cup which starts on November 20
Ten Hag picked Victor Lindelof over Harry Maguire for Thursday’s Europa League victory against Real Sociedad, although the defender came on as a striker for the closing stages
Ten Hag preferred Victor Lindelof as a central defensive partner for Lisandro Martinez in Spain after the Swede returned from illness, and must now decide between Lindelof and Maguire for Sunday’s trip to Aston Villa.
Maguire’s lack of minutes has been a concern for Southgate ahead of the World Cup, but Ten Hag insisted that United have to be foremost in his thoughts.
‘We have to win as Manchester United, clear,’ said the Dutchman when asked if will give Maguire more game time over the last three fixtures before the World Cup.
Maguire is certain to be included in Gareth Southgate’s squad despite the lack of minutes
‘I hope that we perform well and that the England manager takes as many players as possible from Manchester United.’
The feeling now is that Lindelof has moved ahead of Maguire in the pecking order, with Raphael Varane unavailable until after the tournament due to a hamstring injury.
Ten Hag added: ‘He (Lindelof) is performing well in combination with Martinez. Sunday he was ill so not available and then came Harry and he did well.
‘I am happy we have the competition in many more positions but also to cover all the games. Varane’s injury hurt us because also his leadership, but we have three really good centre-backs and that’s what we need.
Maguire (front-right) has only made four starts for Manchester United so far this season
‘I have to see for Aston Villa. It’s going to be difficult because we don’t know – it’s a new manager (Unai Emery).
‘So I have to have a look and analyse that team and then we have a choice. But Licha (Martinez) and Victor played really well together over some more games, but I think also Licha and Harry on Sunday against West Ham United also had a clean sheet and they also did really well.
‘It’s a choice I make. When I choose one there is nothing against the other.’