football

Erik ten Hag accused of “scapegoating” Harry Maguire as new Man Utd defender plan emerges

Manchester United captain Harry Maguire was left out of the starting XI against Liverpool on Monday night, with Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez selected at the back.

Erik ten Hag has informed his central defenders that they will be rotated on a regular basis, with the Manchester United manager accused of unfairly scapegoating Harry Maguire.

 

The England international was named to the bench for Monday’s match against Liverpool, with Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez starting. And they both contributed to United’s first win of the season, following dismal defeats to Brighton and Brentford.

 

Maguire is now fighting for his spot back in the team, just weeks after it was announced that he would remain captain. The former Leicester defender’s position as captain was seriously jeopardized last season, and it is known he does not have the backing of the entire squad.

 

Ten Hag, however, dropped him from the starting XI after two Premier League games after appointing him, captain. That happened after the Dutchman admitted to putting in place a leadership group rather than relying only on the under-fire captain.

 

“”I usually work with a group of leaders, not just one,” he explained. “I discussed this matter with the leaders. It does not have to be veteran players, but we do need a core group to set an example and accept responsibility.”

 

According to the Telegraph, the United manager has warned Maguire, Varane, Martinez, and the injured Victor Lindelof that he would be rotating his choices because the league will be suspended for the World Cup at the end of the year.

 

However, Ten Hag is unlikely to break up a winning duo right away, so Maguire may have to rely on appearances in Europe unless there is another domestic collapse. However, Arsenal great Nigel Winterburn believes the new manager has singled out the £80 million signing unnecessarily.

 

“Sometimes you look to your captain, and if he’s having a very horrible day when you’re searching for him, it may become more difficult because you look to a captain to lead by example,” Winterburn told Paddy Power.

 

“It appears to me that Harry Maguire is having some difficulties and has been made a scapegoat.” I looked at certain goals where some commentators and fans believe Maguire will fail. He’s an England international and Manchester United’s captain, and his level of performance, like most of them, needs to be significantly higher.

 

“The manager would make the decision if he has to alter the captaincy,” he said, “but the most important thing is his attitude, his passion, and the desire to win a football game when you’re out on the pitch, that doesn’t take a captain to do.”

 

Maguire was told he wouldn’t be playing against Liverpool, with the build-up centered on giving Ten Hag’s new duo as much time as possible to settle in.

 

Following their victory against their archrivals, United travel to Southampton this weekend before facing Leicester away on the day the transfer market closes. Maguire has been linked with a move away, but that appears unlikely with Chelsea instead focussing on Foxes centre-back Wesley Fofana.

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