Home » Amid defensive crisis, Erik ten Hag reveals Harry Maguire is back in training

Amid defensive crisis, Erik ten Hag reveals Harry Maguire is back in training

by Ayantan Chowdhury

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.

The victory was further complicated due to the absence of United’s first-choice centre-back pairing in Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane.

To make matters worse, their third-choice defender and club captain Harry Maguire reported sick and had to be left out with coach Erik ten Hag forced to play midfielder Casemiro in defence.

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.

“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].”


United Matchday Magazine – be in the know about everything in red!
Still itching for more United content? Get everything you need right here. For just £1.25 per issue/£3.75 a month you’ll receive unique insights into United, straight to your inbox – before every match and throughout the month.

  • Get the exclusive build-up to each match, plus team news, tactics and history.
  • Not only that – United Matchday is jam-packed with articles, news, transfer news, puzzles, nostalgia and humour.
  • Impress your friends and be in the know about everything in red!

Latest Top Stories...