Manchester United’s head coach, Erik ten Hag, has expressed his contentment to have Harry Maguire within the club’s ranks, following the apparent breakdown of a proposed move to West Ham United.
Initial reports suggested that Maguire was set to depart from the Red Devils, as West Ham secured a £30 million deal for the English defender. Nevertheless, indications now indicate that the 30-year-old will remain at Old Trafford, beyond the closing of the transfer window.
With Maguire’s playing time limited to eight Premier League matches in the preceding season, it is anticipated that he will encounter challenges in securing a regular spot on the field this term. His position seems further constrained by the presence of Lisandro Martinez, Raphael Varane, and Victor Lindelof in the defensive pecking order.
Additionally, last season saw Luke Shaw preferred over Maguire on occasion when both Martinez and Varane were sidelined due to injuries. Moreover, Maguire’s captaincy was revoked earlier in the summer.
Addressing this situation during a press conference prior to the forthcoming Premier League encounter against Tottenham Hotspur in North London, Ten Hag underscored the opportunities that would arise for Maguire. He highlighted that the club’s participation in the Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup, and EFL Cup would necessitate squad rotation, thus affording Maguire his chances.
Ten Hag stated,
“Well, that process (possible move to West Ham), that’s what I don’t know. Only Harry is a player from us, I’m happy he’s here. So, we need a good squad.”
“We have four good centre-halves, even with Luke Shaw if you count him we have five, and we need that because we’re going to play 50 or 60 games this season. All the players are internationals, so we have a lot of load to cover. So, I’m very happy Harry Maguire is here. He has to fight for his position, as [does] everyone in the squad. So, we construct a squad with the double positions, but we need it.”
Maguire’s fate in the team ultimately hinges on his own determination and performance. Ten Hag emphasized that Maguire has the requisite skills to excel in the position and encouraged him to rise to the occasion.
“It’s up to him. He knows what I expect from him. I think I’m now for one year here. You know what I expect from a centre-half and he can do it. I told you many times before he has the abilities to do it, so now he has to show it. It’s about character, to be convinced to play that role. He has all the abilities to do it, and it’s up to him when the time is there.”
Despite an ankle issue sidelining Martinez during the match against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday, Ten Hag reassured that the Argentine defender should be ready for the impending fixture against Spurs. Maguire, in all likelihood, will feature as part of the Manchester United substitutes.