After the resumption of domestic football following the World Cup break, Manchester United were made to huff and puff en route to their 2-0 win over Burnley.
While that particular experiment worked out in the end, the Premier League is unlikely to be that forgiving.
Defensive crisis at United
The Dutchman will be aware of the need to play the Brazilian in midfield if they are to not get overrun by decent Premier League opposition.
The former Ajax coach has revealed to club media that Maguire has overcome his illness and has taken part in team training on Monday.
Whether his fitness is up to the mark and whether he can play from the start alongside Victor Lindelof on Tuesday remains to be seen.
Ten Hag: “We had some problems with illness like Harry Maguire, but he was back on the training pitch so I’m happy with that.” #mufc
— The United Stand (@UnitedStandMUFC) December 26, 2022
“We had some problems with illness like Harry Maguire, but he was back on the training pitch today so I’m happy with that,” the boss revealed.
Maguire’s return is hugely significant as otherwise the Dutch boss would have had to choose between Casemiro and Scott McTominay as starting defenders, something Nottingham Forest would definitely have targeted.
As for World Cup winner Martinez and finalist Varane, the former Ajax boss added that the pair are yet to be back following their World Cup exertions but he is hopeful that they will be back soon.
“Returning from Rapha Varane and Licha Martinez, they are not there [back at United] but we hope on their comeback [soon].”
Can Maguire return inspire United?
With the exception of the defensive duo, all of United’s World Cup stars are back and expected to be part of the Nottingham Forest encounter.
The likes of Tyrell Malacia, Luke Shaw, Bruno Fernandes, Fred, Antony and goalscoring duo Christian Eriksen and Marcus Rashford all featured against Burnley in the EFL Cup last week while young Facundo Pellistri made the bench.
“The feeling is good. The players from the World Cup are back, are integrated again and you feel they are excited.
”[They had] massive impressions there [in Qatar], but now they are back, and you feel their energy.
”They are looking forward to the restart [of the Premier League].”
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