Due to Harry Maguire’s suspension, United are light in the defensive ranks and will have to improvise on Sunday against Brighton.

Maguire’s suspension leaves Victor Lindelöf as Manchester United’s only available centre-back. Captain Maguire joins Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane in the absentee list. Both are nursing injuries sustained in the first-leg of the Sevilla tie.

Lindelöf is the key man on Sunday, holding the heavy burden on his shoulders. However, he won’t be alone as Erik ten Hag must decide on a solution to the issue.

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Various players have appeared unnaturally at centre-back this season, narrowing ten Hag’s options down to three; Luke Shaw, Casemiro and Scott McTominay.

Each of the three offers an interesting alternative to Maguire, with their own strengths and weaknesses.

Luke Shaw

Shaw is both the best option on the list and also the most natural option available. Should Lindelöf play in the RCB role, this would open the door for Shaw to be the LCB. He has played the position countless times this season to a high standard; including games against Man City and Barcelona.

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This has shown that he possess the qualities to perform the role. Both at a high level and in high pressure games in the sports pinnacle. His left footedness offers United something of a Martinez replacement. Shaw is good in possession, quick and strong in the tackle and therefore should be Lindelöf’s partner.

The only question mark over Shaw for Sunday is will he be fit? The Englishman was visibly limping for part of Thursdays game in Seville. However, he did see out the game and should be fit to make the starting XI at Wembley. Lindelöf will likely also be hoping that it is Shaw who gets the call to partner him.


Casemiro is probably the second best option to fill in at centre-back. However, he is such a pivotal piece in midfield that United may be best served leaving him there. This despite his recent lacklustre form, which has seen him look timid since returning from his four game suspension.

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Casemiro featured as the centre-back in United’s EFL Cup fourth round tie against Burnley. While keeping a clean sheet, Brighton could represent a jump too far for Casemiro. However should Shaw not be fit, Casemiro will likely be drafted in next to the Swede.

However, ultimately Casemiro is probably more beneficial to play in his native position of defensive midfield. This is important given how stacked and talented the Brighton midfield is; Talent like Moises Caicedo and Alexis MacAllister.

Scott McTominay

The last option while unpopular, is Scott McTominay. The Scot has been injured recently but has been gearing up for an imminent return. The United academy graduate has featured at centre-back for his country on many occasions.

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While unnatural for McTominay, fits the bill in regard to his physical attributes. However in terms of playing out from the back, he would struggle given his limited passing range. Additionally he lacks the defensive acumen to play as part of a back four, having featured in back fives for Scotland.

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