Erik ten Hag has reportedly told Harry Maguire that his Manchester United captaincy is in jeopardy, as the defender battles his way back into the starting lineup.
Maguire, along with the majority of his Manchester United teammates, recently put on a horrific performance against Brentford. Ten Hag was enraged after the Red Devils were defeated 4-0.
He made four substitutions for the match against Liverpool at home. Tyrell Malacia, Raphael Varane, Scott McTominay, and Anthony Elanga were all called up.
Maguire and Cristiano Ronaldo were relegated to the bench, and Bruno Fernandes was chosen United captain in Maguire’s absence.
Manchester United dominated at Old Trafford, defeating Liverpool 2-1, surprising some of their own fans.
Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford got among the goals for the home side. Mo Salah pulled one back for Liverpool with around 10 minutes remaining. However, the Merseyside club couldn’t get an equalizer and this saw United get all three points.
United looked hungry and fresh in the match, as they flew out of the blocks. Sky Sports pundits Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville couldn’t believe what they were watching as United caused their opponents all sorts of problems in the opening 30 minutes.
After the match, Neville said he was left ‘stunned’ by United’s ‘absolutely brilliant’ display against last season’s FA Cup winners.
The Sun reveals how the win came about, and what Maguire’s future as a United captain looks like.
Ten Hag punishes his United players
They claim Ten Hag made his United players run 13.8km each the day after the Brentford loss, with their day off canceled. This is how much Brentford outran United in the game.
Players were initially angry at the punishment, though they came to respect Ten Hag after realizing he was running the 13.8km too.
Ten Hag also had a chat with Maguire. He told the Englishman that he is no longer his first choice at center-back.
Varane and Lisandro Martinez did well against Liverpool and look set to play together more often.
Fernandes will be given the armband from now on if Maguire is not on the team. This comes after the Portuguese ‘thrived’ in the leadership role against Liverpool.
Even though Maguire remains club captain, it is unlikely he will get the armband when coming off the bench, as long as Fernandes continues to do well.
Manager to think over Maguire’s future as captain
With this in mind, Ten Hag could end up doing a complete U-turn on the captaincy and stripping Maguire of it. He backed the 29-year-old earlier in the summer, but things have changed since then.
Varane and Martinez are likely to play together when United travels to Southampton on Saturday. The Saints will probably play Che Adams up front and he shouldn’t pose a massive aerial threat to Martinez when compared with other Premier League strikers.
It looks like a long road back to the starting eleven for Maguire. While he will still feature regularly this season, it is in some of the biggest games that he might miss out on.
Varane and Martinez doing well will show Ten Hag why he should consider naming a new captain. After all, what use is a club captain if he isn’t on the pitch for the most crucial matches?
Ten Hag’s selection decision is also worrying for Maguire when it comes to his England spot. The World Cup is fast approaching and Maguire could be dropped by Gareth Southgate if his troublesome campaign continues.