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Harry Maguire: The importance of Manchester United’s captain returning from injury

by Shane Healy

Manchester United captain, Harry Maguire has returned to training after his first significant injury absence in over two years.

The 28 year-old trained with Gareth Southgate’s England squad this week ahead of the European Championships kicking off on Friday.

Maguire’s absence highlighted his importance for United.

He missed five games after suffering ankle ligament damage in United’s win versus Aston Villa on May 9th.

Without the England man, The Reds looked much shakier in defence and lost in the Europa League Final, in part, due to conceding a set-piece goal.

Maguire’s price tag of £80 million has been questioned since his transfer from Leicester City in 2019, but in that time, he had played every single Premier League game for United up until the Villa game.

He was among the highest consecutive appearance makers in Europe.

This was in marked contrast to United’s injury record in defence before his signing, and if Maguire lacks in pace, he has, so far, made up for that in durability and consistency.

His return will, of course, be a boost for England ahead of their opening Euros fixture against Croatia on Sunday, but United boss, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be keeping a close eye on the centre-back with the hope that he comes through the tournament unscathed.

Like in almost every Premier League winning side, injuries to key players have to be kept to a minimum throughout a season, and for Solskjaer to get close to that trophy, his captain will have to have a similar run of appearances to before.

United are looking to sign an equally effective partner for Maguire in this summer’s transfer market to further bolster the defence.

The club are interested in Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane and Brighton’s Ben White among others.

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