Manchester United star Harry Maguire has given Erik ten Hag exactly what he wanted

December 12, 2022

Harry Maguire impressed for England at the World Cup despite well-documented Old Trafford struggles.

Manchester United captain Harry Maguire has given Erik ten Hag exactly what he wanted with his displays at the World Cup as he seeks to put his well-documented Old Trafford struggles behind him.

Maguire, 29, and his inclusion in the Three Lions squad was a major talking point before the tournament. However, the decision made by Gareth Southgate was vindicated on the pitch.

Despite making only three Premier League starts this season to fall behind Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez and Victor Lindelof in the United pecking order, Maguire started all five matches in Qatar and impressed despite one or two challenging moments along the way as England were eliminated in heart-breaking circumstances.

Getting over his pre-tournament injury and limited game-time was always going to be a difficult task, but Maguire did exactly that and more to underline his worth to Ten Hag and the United squad. Ten Hag laid down the gauntlet in August when dropping his £80million captain as Varane and Martinez were paired together.

Maguire was told it was down to him. However, the ball is now back in Ten Hag’s court after they exchanged messages throughout the unique winter showcase.

Speaking about the centre-back when he was dropped, Ten Hag said: “First of all I have to coach him and I have to back him, but I back him because I believe in him. I can see the qualities even after he wasn’t in the team he trained really well and more importantly the quality was there.

“You see from his career, almost 50 caps for England, [playing for] Leicester and Manchester United he’s performing really well, what you see is high potential. It’s about him, the players in the dressing room, the coaches, the manager they all believe in him. That’s what I told him, I’m sure he can do it and he will turn it around. I’m convinced of that.”

Convinced, he might be, but Maguire shared a different take on what Qatar has done for him. While acknowledging his form dip, the former Leicester City player also outlined how World Cupbacking restored his confidence and that comes as a welcome boost to the United manager who never lost faith.

Earlier in the tournament, he said: “I don’t think I’ve proved a point out here. I’ve not hid away from the last year.
“It’s been difficult, but I always knew and I had great belief in myself that I’d find my form and regain my confidence and my focus. I’m really happy it’s happened at the biggest tournament. Now, I feel in a good place. I feel good mentally and I feel good physically.”

With his Old Trafford challenge met and answered head on, in trademark Maguire fashion, competition for starting places in central defence has gathered pace as semi-finalists Varane and Martinez prepare for a delayed return. But while they are in the driving seat, Maguire has given Ten Hag another welcome nudge…