Erik ten Hag backs Harry Maguire to get back to his best

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has been asked about his captain Harry Maguire ahead of Sunday’s derby.

Maguire has been dropped by Ten Hag but England manager Gareth Southgate kept the faith with him during the international break.

The defender played every minute of England’s games with Italy and Germany, but endured a nightmare at Wembley, giving away two goals in the 3-3 draw on Monday.

It was to be expected that Ten Hag would face questions about Maguire at his press conference ahead of playing Manchester City, a match Maguire will miss through injury.

Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images

Ten Hag on Maguire

“First of all, of course, I have to coach him. I have to back him. But I back him because I believe in him. In the period I work with him, pre-season was really good. Training and games. Then he fell out (of the team) but that is also to do with the good performances of the centre-backs who are playing now. But I can see his qualities.

“Even after he was not in the team, he trained really well. But more important, the quality was really there. You see his career, I think he has almost 50 caps for England (48) already.

“With Leicester and United, he is performing really well. You see he has a high potential and then it’s about him. The players in the dressing room, the coaches, the manager – we all believe in him. Now it’s about him. That is what I told him. I am sure he can do it. He will turn this around, I am convinced of that.

“He is doing quite well but every player has room for improvement and if he believes in his skills, he will be quickly back on the level and even more than he did. I am convinced of that, I have seen his capabilities and they are really high.”

If Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane keep playing as well as they have been doing, it is hard to see how Maguire gets much gametime between now and the World Cup.

Perhaps in the EFL Cup against Aston Villa or if there are any Europa League dead rubbers, but that is about it as it stands.

The first task for Maguire is to get fit again after limping through the final stages of England’s draw with Germany and we do not yet know how long that will take.

Then, he needs to keep on training as well as he can to impress Ten Hag because at the moment, he is having a tough time, looking so short on form, match fitness and confidence.

Thoughts? Comment Below
Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.