EPL

Maguire out of Manchester derby but has Ten Hag's backing

By Sports Desk September 30, 2022

Harry Maguire will not play for Manchester United against Manchester City due to injury, but Erik ten Hag is confident he can rediscover his best form when he returns.

The United captain has endured a torrid season, losing his place at club level and then performing poorly for England despite Gareth Southgate's backing, with individual errors contributing to Germany's 2-0 lead in Monday's 3-3 Nations League draw.

There have been calls for Maguire to be dropped by Southgate, too, but he first faces a tough task to get past Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez back into Ten Hag's winning United side.

That will not happen in Sunday's derby, as Ten Hag revealed the centre-back was the only fresh injury concern, set to miss the game while Anthony Martial and Premier League Player of the Month Marcus Rashford return.

However, the United manager was quizzed on what he can do to help Maguire get back to his best.

"First of all, I have to coach him," Ten Hag said. "I have to back him, but I back him because I believe in him. In the period I was working with him in pre-season, he was good, I would say really good, training and games.

"But then it's also to do with the good performances of the centre-backs who are playing now.

"I can see qualities. Even after he was not in the team, he trained really well. More importantly, the quality was really there.

"You see his career: he has almost 50 caps for England, already with Leicester and Man United he's performed really well. What you see is high potential.

"Then it's about him. The players in the dressing room, the coaches, the manager, we all believe in him. Now it's about him. That's what I told him. I am sure he can do it, and he will turn around this. I am really convinced of that."

Maguire has been the subject of abuse due to his performances, and while Ten Hag suggested criticism was part of the sport, he recognised a lack of belief was the defender's biggest problem.

"It's an aspect of football. It's an aspect of our work," he said. "We set conditions for that, as a manager, and we also have experts around to help, to coach the players and the team in the right direction.

"I think he is doing quite well, but for every player there is room for improvement. If he believes in his skills, he will be quickly back on the level even more than he did.

"Once again, I'm convinced of that, because I see his capabilities are really high."

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