Wayne Rooney on Harry Maguire's Man Utd form
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England players have been tipped to revolt if Harry Maguire keeps playing despite struggling to make the starting XI at Manchester United. The 29-year-old is down in Erik ten Hag’s pecking order ahead of Sunday’s showdown with Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium. He’s set to miss that contest due to injury, having sustained a knock in the Three Lions’ 3-3 draw with Germany earlier in the week.
Manchester United have seen Maguire endure a difficult 12 months, with the centre-back struggling for consistency under Erik ten Hag, Ralf Rangnick and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
However, while he’s struggling at club level, the England international remains key for Gareth Southgate on the world stage.
Maguire was started by England in their recent matches with Germany and Italy, with Southgate continuing to back the former Leicester star regardless of his form.
Yet Noel Whelan, speaking to Football Insider, thinks Three Lions squad members such as Eric Dier and Fikayo Tomori will be particularly unhappy if Maguire continues to get into the side at their expense.
“Maguire seems to be safe, doesn’t he?” he said.
“In my opinion, if you’re not playing for your club you shouldn’t be playing for the national side.
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“That’s just the way it’s been for a long time. But there seems to be a trust in Harry Maguire from Gareth Southgate.
“You don’t become a bad player overnight, but he’s certainly not been consistently good.
“He doesn’t look like he’s going to get back in that Man United side until there’s an injury or a suspension.
“If you’re playing regularly, you have that match fitness and sharpness. He has probably also lost a lot of confidence in himself.
“It’s a strange one, but Gareth has got the faith in him. It won’t be pleasing to other players, like Dier or Tomori, if they are to drop out of the side for someone who isn’t playing regular football.”
Maguire has rarely let England down during his international career.
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But his place at United, in the long-term at least, is certainly under threat.
Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane have become Ten Hag’s first-choice centre-back pairing, with the duo shining as the club have won five of their last six matches.
And whether Maguire can regain his spot in the United team ahead of the World Cup later in the year remains to be seen.
Speaking on Friday, meanwhile, Ten Hag was asked about Maguire – and insisted he’d do everything to help his captain regain his best form.
“First of all, of course I have to coach him, I have to back him,” said the 52-year-old, who is gearing up for his first Manchester derby.
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“But I back him because I believe in him. The period I worked with him in pre-season was good, I think I would say really good – training and games.
“Then he fell out [of the starting lineup] but it’s also to do with the good performance of the centre-backs who are playing now.
“But I can see the qualities. Even after he wasn’t in the team, he trained really well but more important the quality was really there.
“You see his career, almost 50 caps for England. With Leicester and Man United, he’s performing really well so what you see is he has a high potential.
“Then it’s about him. The players in the dressing room, the coaches, the manager – we all believe in him.
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“Now it is about him. That is what I told him. I’m sure he can do it. He will turn around this. I am really convinced of that.”
And, when quizzed about the potential mental health affects on criticised players like Maguire, Ten hag added: “It’s an aspect of top football, it’s an aspect of our work.
“We set conditions for that as manager. We also have experts around to help, to coach the players, the team in the right direction.”
Maguire will likely be in attendance for United’s match with City today.
The Red Devils will be hoping to avoid a repeat of what happened back in March, when they were beaten 4-1 at the home of their fierce rivals following braces from Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez.
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