Former footballer Danny Murphy believes that Harry Maguire and Scott McTominay could play a role in re-establishing confidence in Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag following a torrid start to the season.
While both players have been subject to widespread criticism due to their poor performances over recent months, both Maguire and McTominay have improved their form, thereby giving reason to believe that Ten Hag’s coaching methods are proving effective in certain areas.
Maguire was easily one of Man United’s standout defenders in Saturday’s 1-0 win over Fulham, completing the most touches, passes, clearances, and blocked shots of all players on both teams.
United legend Peter Schmeichel was quick to take note of the centre-back’s emphatic performance, calling him “majestic” before naming him, Maguire, as his player of the match.
Although McTominay’s goal early in the first half was ultimately ruled offside (ironically because Maguire was deemed offside), he proved to be reliable in his central midfield role, also tracking back to help his defence with three clearances and two interceptions. (Sofascore)
Murphy wrote in his weekly column for The Daily Mail that both Maguire and McTominay’s performances against Fulham should be enough to earn them a spot in the starting 11 set to face FC Copenhagen in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday night.
“Ten Hag will now know he can rely on Maguire and McTominay,” Murphy declared, continuing: “He should be hugely relieved they decided to stay at Old Trafford.”
Once Ten Hag arrived at United at the start of last season, Maguire saw his playing time greatly reduced, which may have been viewed as unexpected given that he was the club captain at the time.
This summer, it appeared as if the England international’s career at Old Trafford was all but over, particularly after he was stripped of the captaincy.
While Maguire was then linked with a move to West Ham United, he ultimately rejected the notion, opting instead to fight for a spot in the starting 11 yet again.
McTominay, who also struggled for game time, was also on West Ham’s radar, with The Hammers offering United a combined £60 million bid to sign both the Scottish midfielder and Maguire in a package deal.
Ultimately, United rejected the offer, feeling that the London club’s valuation of McTominay was too low.
Should Maguire and McTominay continue their fine form, Ten Hag may just feel the relief that Murphy described in knowing that the two former outcasts did not depart the club during the summer.