Tue. Jun 25th, 2024

Erik ten Hag says he is happy Harry Maguire is staying at Manchester United – and that the defender must now fight for his position in the squad.

Maguire, who made eight Premier League starts last season, was set to join West Ham but a £30m move fell through.

The England defender, 30, wants to play regularly again, and Dutch manager Ten Hag says he should grab his chance when it arrives.

“[Maguire] knows what I expect from a centre half. He can do it,” he said.

“He has the abilities to do it, so he has to show it. It’s about character, to be convinced to play that role. He has all the abilities and it’s up to him when the time is there.”

Maguire, having struggled to get regular games last season, was stripped of the club captaincy in July. He had held the role since January 2020.

He was an unused substitute for United’s opening Premier League victory against Wolves on Monday. When Ten Hag replaced central defender Lisandro Martinez at half-time, it was Victor Lindelof who went on instead.

A deal was agreed between United and the Hammers but a source close to Maguire said that while he “respects West Ham and David Moyes” there was “never an agreement in place” over his personal terms.

“That process, that’s what I don’t know,” said Ten Hag when asked what happened with the proposed transfer.

“Harry is a player for us, I’m happy he’s here, so we need a good squad.

“We have four good centre-halves – with Luke Shaw if you count him, we have five – and we need that because we are going to play 50-60 games this season, all the players are internationals, so we have a lot of load to cover so yeah, I’m very happy Harry Maguire is here.

“He has to fight for his position, as does everyone in this squad.”

Ten Hag feels his side is “covered” in all positions but the club would not rule out further signings before the transfer window closes on 1 September.

He said: “We are Manchester United, we are always looking for improvement and when there is the opportunity we will strike, also in the last two weeks.”

Ten Hag takes his side to north London to face Tottenham in the top flight on Saturday at 17:30 BST.

Source: BBC

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