Home » Harry Maguire to be dropped? Ralf Rangnick’s three huge decisions for Southampton visit

Harry Maguire to be dropped? Ralf Rangnick’s three huge decisions for Southampton visit

by Red Billy

Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick has three main selection dilemmas as he picks his side for tomorrow’s home game against Southampton.

The boss faces no new injury problems and welcomes back Alex Telles after his absence due to Covid-19.

This presents him with his first dilemma; whether to recall the Brazilian at left back or keep Luke Shaw in the position.

Shaw worked well going forward against Middlesbrough and Burnley during Telles’ absence but some poor positional work defensively – ironically where he is perceived to be stronger than Telles – calls into question whether he is up for the job in Rangnick’s new system.

It is a close call but we predict that Telles will be given the nod, even if it is just to rest and rotate Shaw after two games in the last eight days.

An even bigger decision awaits Rangnick at centre-back. Raphael Varane and Victor Lindelof looked like a good partnership in Harry Maguire’s absence but the skipper was recalled after Lindelof asked for compassionate leave and then fell ill. However, the England man was the worst player on the pitch against Burnley and cost United a goal at both ends.

It is a big decision to drop the captain but the Burnley fiasco was not an isolated incident this season, with Maguire’s form a major cause for concern. Rangnick does not seem afraid of making hard decisions and so we think he will restore Lindelof to the starting XI.

Speaking of big decisions, the third dilemma is whether to reinstate Cristiano Ronaldo to the starting XI or keep him on the bench. There is a big difference between one game on the bench and two; one can be seen as resting the player whereas two is surely an acknowledgement that another option – in this case, Edinson Cavani – is perceived to be better.

Cavani was not at his best either against Burnley but when the Portuguese came on as sub he squandered another golden opportunity to add to the 10 shots without success against Middlesbrough. He is clearly struggling for form and reports about his unhappiness at United are circulating again.

With the Uruguayan a harder worker and better suited to Rangnick’s gegenpressing system, he could get the nod again but you would not want to be in the boss’s shoes benching the United legend for this one. Tough decision.

Elsewhere in the side, David de Gea, Diogo Dalot, Raphael Varane, Scott McTominay, Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes and Jadon Sancho are all expected to keep their places.

They will probably be joined by Marcus Rashford, although his finishing has also been poor recently and Anthony Elanga looked bright when coming on as sub in midweek. Rashford should just hold on to his place.

Fred remains an absentee with Covid, Eric Bailly with an ankle injury and Mason Greenwood is suspended from duty pending a criminal investigation.

With all that in mind, here is our predicted XI for the game:

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