FC Copenhagen coach Jacob Neestrup has warned Manchester United the atmosphere at Parken will be 100 times more intense than Old Trafford ahead of Wednesday’s key Champions League clash.

Harry Maguire’s header and Andre Onana’s stoppage-time spot-kick save secured Erik ten Hag’s stumbling Red Devils a much-needed 1-0 victory against the Danish champions a fortnight ago.

It was a crucial win having lost their first two Group A games to Bayern Munich and Galatasaray, but United must now build on that triumph in Copenhagen.

The hosts need a win themselves having secured one point despite going close in their first three fixtures and Neestrup believes Parken’s intense atmosphere will be different for United.

“What can they expect? I would say with all the respect I felt when I stepped into Old Trafford, then I felt the historical atmosphere,” the 35-year-old said.

“But you can’t compare Old Trafford with Parken because the intensity is times 100 in terms of what we played in two weeks ago.

“Then this is a standard (that), for me, is way above Premier League, to be honest.”

Neestrup’s bold comments about the contrasting atmospheres was put to United midfielder Christian Eriksen, who knows the stadium better than most.

“I’ve never played against Copenhagen in here, I’ve only been here with the national team,” the Denmark international said with a smile.

“I do know the atmosphere with the national team is very special, so I do expect a special atmosphere.

“But I don’t know if it’s 100 times more theatrical than it would be at Old Trafford! I’m not sure about that.”

United boss Ten Hag was also asked about readiness to play in front of a hostile crowd.

“We are looking forward (to it),” he said of the game at Parken. “This team is experienced and experienced hostile.

“For instance, last year, Barcelona and we can get good performances and we can get good results. We know that.”

United are under scrutiny as they head to the Danish capital, having edged past Fulham 1-0 as they responded to back-to-back 3-0 home defeats to Manchester City and Newcastle.

Put to Neestrup that Copenhagen are facing a side in unconvincing form, he said: “But I don’t care. I also thought it was a perfect time to play Bayern Munich.

“We play at home, we are a big, big club in Copenhagen, so for me it really doesn’t matter.

“If we’re going to play a team tomorrow who have won 20 games in a row or, in terms of your words, are struggling a little bit, because for us it’s the same.

“We need a result. Best case three (points), next best it’s one. But the shape that the opponent arrive in I don’t care, really.”

Wednesday’s match will see Rasmus Hojlund return to his hometown club, where his younger brothers Emil and Oscar currently play.

Copenhagen midfielder Rasmus Falk, who played alongside the United striker during his time at Parken, said: “His strength is he is very, very fast, very, very strong, then his mentality.

“He wants to score goals, he wants to do the best all the time and the hunger he shows in the game is, for me, his biggest strength.”

Brain injury charity Headway have questioned the decision to allow Harry Maguire to continue playing for Manchester United after sustaining a head collision and warned about the management of in-game impacts in football.

Maguire fell to the floor with less than a minute played at Fulham on Saturday after clashing heads with Rodrigo Muniz and appeared to have sustained a cut just above his eye.

The England defender continued after treatment but referee John Brooks questioned Maguire’s condition after 58 minutes and United physios again analysed the defender.

Maguire finished the game United as won 1-0, and he later told MUTV he had passed concussion protocols, saying: “The doctor did all the tests, I knew where I was and I was answering all the questions and I completed them (protocols) thankfully.”

But Headway say the sight of Brooks’ intervention when Maguire appeared to be in difficulty was “deeply concerning”, and the organisation has warned that progress made over the past decade to improve the health of players is at risk due to football’s failure to manage in-game head injuries.

“The incident with Harry Maguire is concerning for a number of reasons,” said Luke Griggs, chief executive of Headway.

“An opponent’s shoulder strikes the side of his head; minutes later he goes down on his haunches, showing clear signs of discomfort.

“After a brief on-pitch assessment – again highlighting the nonsensical lack of temporary concussion substitutes in football – he was allowed to continue.

“The sight of the referee then having to intervene in the second half when the player continued to look in difficulty was deeply concerning. But again, after another brief assessment with medics, he was again allowed to play on.

“We are not privy to the discussions with his medical team, nor should their professionalism be questioned. This is an issue with the very culture of football and its stubborn refusal to put players’ health above all else – including the result of a game.

“Every time the ‘if in doubt, sit it out’ principle is seen to be ignored in elite level football, our chances of educating younger players and better protecting future generations from short and long-term brain injury is diminished.

“Temporary concussion substitutions would immediately help return some credibility to the process, but an evolution of attitude is urgently needed.”

Griggs said attitudes to concussion have changed over the past decade.

He said: “We have come such a long way since Hugo Lloris was labelled a ‘hero’ for over-ruling club medics to return to the pitch after a clear concussion while playing for Spurs against Everton in 2013.

“That shocking incident was a wake-up call for football. We called it ‘dangerous and irresponsible’ at the time, demanding it be used as a catalyst for change.

“That change has been a slow process, but attitudes have changed. Promises were made, such as the concept of players being immediately removed from play if there is any suspicion of concussion.

“An ‘if in doubt, sit it out’ approach was enshrined in a series of concussion protocols, eventually adopted by various footballing bodies.

“But this progress is eroded with every high-profile incident in which the safety first principle is set aside and players being allowed to continue despite showing signs that a concussion could have occurred.”

Erik ten Hag lauded Harry Maguire’s performance against Fulham after Manchester United’s dramatic 1-0 win at Craven Cottage.

United kept a clean sheet and stole victory courtesy of Bruno Fernandes’ added-time winner.

Maguire’s resurgence in form has seen him start in United’s last four league games at centre-back.

And Ten Hag said: “He was playing a massive game and so it was a very good performance.

“He showed leadership and in and out of possession he was very good so we are very pleased with Harry’s performance.”

Danish striker Rasmus Hojlund, who United signed for a reported £64million in the summer, and Antony failed to get off the mark for the league season after a lethargic attacking performance at Craven Cottage.

And Ten Hag admitted he expects his forward players to do better on a day where they were fortunate to take three points.

He added: “Yes, it is clear, we expect it from them (to do better) because we think they are capable and we are confident that they will do it.

“If they keep working, stay composed and keep the confidence then it will come.”

The Dutch manager praised captain Fernandes’ performance.

“You can see with the way that he (Fernandes) is pressing, with the way that he is counter-pressing in games and the way he recovers,” he said.

“So he is absolutely the example and he’s taking the responsibility all the time on and off the field and he’s taken the responsibility by scoring important goals.”

Fulham came close in the second half through Harry Wilson and Joao Palhinha but United keeper Andre Onana made two good saves to deny the hosts.

Marco Silva felt his side were the better team in the second half and believes Fulham should have found the back of the net.

Silva said: “It is clear we were the better team on the pitch in the second half.

“We created more chances, we arrived in dangerous areas so many times. I think the chances we did create are chances that was enough to probably score.

“Onana made some good saves but against United to create what we did, we should have scored. It’s a tough one to take.”

Harry Maguire’s header and Andre Onana’s stoppage-time penalty save secured Manchester United a vital Champions League win against Copenhagen in their first home match since the death of Sir Bobby Charlton.

Tuesday’s Old Trafford encounter allowed the club to come together and pay tribute to the World Cup winner and all-round gentleman following his death at the age of 86 on Saturday.

Charlton starred for United and in 1968 led them to European Cup glory at Wembley, where Erik ten Hag’s men would love to return for June’s Champions League final.

First comes qualification from Group C, which misfiring United continued to make hard work of as they rode their luck to claim a 1-0 win against Copenhagen after losses to Bayern Munich and Galatasaray.

Maguire temporarily quietened his doubters with a second-half header against the impressive Danish champions, who pushed until the end and looked set to act as party poopers.

Scott McTominay brought down Mohamed Elyounoussi in the box in stoppage time, but goalkeeper Onana – so unsteady since joining from Inter Milan – saved Jordan Larsson’s penalty in a jaw-dropping ending.

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag says Harry Maguire is “playing like we want him to” after a man-of-the-match performance in the 2-1 win at Sheffield United.

Maguire started his second successive Premier League game and stood out against his former club at Bramall Lane as the Red Devils marked the death of Sir Bobby Charlton with three points.

The England centre-half’s career at Old Trafford appeared to be over after he was stripped of the captaincy and allowed to explore the possibility of signing for West Ham in the summer, but he was always committed to regaining Ten Hag’s favour.

He looks to be doing that now, with the Dutchman impressed by his Bramall Lane performance.

“I have to say Harry is playing like we want him to play,” he said.

“Very proactive out of possession, dominating his opponent, stepping in when necessary, reading the game, good covering but also in possession very proactive, stepping in, delivering good passes, switching, yes, I am happy with his performance.”

The Red Devils hardly put in a fitting performance to remember Charlton by but they got the job done against a team who are yet to win this season.

They went ahead against the run of play when Scott McTominay scored his third goal in two games but Oli McBurnie’s penalty quickly levelled for the Blades before the break.

Ten Hag’s men improved after the interval and won it in the 77th minute through Diogo Dalot’s curling effort.

A long season is on the cards for the Blades, who have taken just one point from their opening nine games of the season.

They have been hit hard by injuries, losing captain John Egan and vice-captain Chris Basham to serious knocks, and they suffered more bad news on that front.

Anel Ahmedhodzic missed out with a hamstring injury, while McBurnie limped off with a groin problem.

On Ahmedhodzic, boss Paul Heckingbottom said: “It’s his hamstring. He jumped for a header in training and hurt his hamstring. He’s had a scan. It will be weeks.”

“Oli’s groin started impacting him. It was sore at half-time and we tried taping it up but you could see it was impacting him running.

“We had to bring him off because he was hindered by that but also to protect him as well.”

England’s impressive victory over Italy at Wembley on Tuesday night confirmed their qualification for Euro 2024.

While there are still two qualifiers still to play in November, attention will already be shifting to how England end a 58-year wait for a major men’s trophy in Germany next summer.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at some of the key questions Gareth Southgate will need to answer between now and the start of the finals as he prepares to lead England into a fourth tournament as manager.

Faith no more?

Southgate has always remained loyal to players he feels he can trust and who have not let him down when they have turned out for England.

Among the current crop, former Manchester United captain Harry Maguire and Manchester City midfielder Kalvin Phillips started the win over the Azzurri despite playing a combined total of 186 Premier League minutes so far this season.

Whether their places in Southgate’s plans are sustainable if such a dearth of club football remains is something only the England manager will know – likewise with Jordan Henderson plying his trade in the Saudi Pro League and whether the competition there is enough to keep the former Liverpool man competitive.

The last dance?

There was plenty of speculation that Southgate would leave his position after the World Cup in Qatar.

England were knocked out at the quarter-final stage by France but that did not deter Southgate’s belief that he could achieve something special with the players at his disposal.

His contract, however, expires next year and, having been at the helm since 2016, he may be tempted to seek a new challenge regardless of how England do in Germany and that may be something that will weigh on his mind leading into the finals.

Spring break opponents?

The March international break is expected to see England host two Wembley friendlies in what will be the last chance Southgate has to work with his players in the run-up to Euro 2024.

He will be keen to work closely with the Football Association to make sure the right opponents are found to aid that preparation – especially as, by that stage, England will know who they will face in the group stages.

While morale-boosting wins will be welcomed, Southgate and his coaching staff will also want to test the players against the highest-calibre rivals and striking a balance there could be key.

Who is most able to support Kane?

Captain Harry Kane moved onto an unmatched 61 England goals with his brace in the win over Italy.

The Bayern Munich striker shows no signs of slowing down and will no doubt lead from the front if he is fit and raring to go next summer.

The question remains who will fill the unenviable position as Kane’s deputy within Southgate’s 23-man squad and the boss will be taking a close look at the form of players such as Ollie Watkins, Callum Wilson, Eddie Nketiah and Ivan Toney in the coming months.

Starting positions?

A number of players are seemingly all but assured of inclusion – fitness-permitting – in England’s starting XI for their opener next June, but Southgate does have a couple of issues at both left-back and in central midfield.

Luke Shaw and Ben Chilwell are natural left-backs but both are injured and have history of fitness concerns, meaning Kieran Trippier could be asked to deputise, while Levi Colwill made his debut there against Australia having risen up through the ranks as a central defender.

In midfield, Jude Bellingham and Declan Rice have been superb for club and country this year but the third berth is a more difficult conundrum. With Phillips not playing regularly and Henderson now in Saudi Arabia, the door could be open to someone like Conor Gallagher or Trent Alexander-Arnold, who the FA now lists as a midfielder, getting a chance to impress before the tournament.

Gareth Southgate has eight months to mull over his European Championship selection after England sealed their place at next summer’s finals with two games to spare.

Tuesday’s 3-1 win against Italy underlined their place among the favourites in Germany and the PA news agency has analysed how Southgate likely sees his options for the squad right now.

Goalkeepers

On the plane: Jordan Pickford (Everton) and Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal)

In the departure lounge: Sam Johnstone (Crystal Palace)

Hoping for a late ticket: Nick Pope (Newcastle)

Pickford established himself as England’s number one ahead of the 2018 World Cup and is all but certain to go into his fourth major tournament as the man between the sticks.

Ramsdale is his closest contender but David Raya’s arrival at Arsenal is impacting his playing time and could well damage his international ambitions. Johnstone has supplanted Pope as third choice for the time being.

Defenders

On the plane: Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Marc Guehi (Crystal Palace), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Newcastle) and Kyle Walker (Manchester City)

In the departure lounge: Levi Colwill (Chelsea), Lewis Dunk (Brighton), Reece James (Chelsea) and Fikayo Tomori (AC Milan)

Hoping for a late ticket: Conor Coady (Leicester), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Ezri Konsa (Aston Villa), Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa) and Ben White (Arsenal)

Trippier, Stones, Walker and Maguire have been to every previous major tournament under Southgate and will do so again if fit and playing – not something that is a given with the latter.

James undoubtedly has the quality to be on the plane but needs to prove his fitness. The Chelsea skipper missed the World Cup through injury and has struggled for an issue-free run since – not ideal given the competition at right-back.

Injured team-mate Chilwell is in a similar position but there is a dearth of options at left-back beyond him and Shaw.  Colwill can fill in there as he did on his England debut against Australia, which will boost the central defender’s hopes.

Guehi has established himself as third-choice centre-back. Dunk and Tomori furthered their case for inclusion in recent camps in the absence of injured Mings, whose Aston Villa team-mate Konsa cannot be far from a call-up.

Coady and White have not been selected since Qatar, while fellow World Cup squad selection Dier’s lack of club action has seen him fall out of consideration.

Midfielders

On the plane: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Jude Bellingham (Real Madrid), Jordan Henderson (Al-Ettifaq), Kalvin Phillips (Manchester City) and Declan Rice (Arsenal)

In the departure lounge: Conor Gallagher (Chelsea) and Mason Mount (Manchester United)

Hoping for a late ticket: Morgan Gibbs-White (Nottingham Forest) and James Ward-Prowse (West Ham)

Bellingham would be in any squad in the world, as would Rice. There are questions over Phillips and Henderson given their club situations, but Southgate has so far seen enough to stick with two players he trusts implicitly.

The Football Association now lists Alexander-Arnold as a midfielder, with his versatility and qualities surely enough to see him involved in a midfield that Gallagher is now a regular part of.

Mount’s difficult end to last season and injury-impacted start to life at Old Trafford has seen him miss out on recent squads, but Southgate is a long-term admirer of the Euro 2020 final starter.

In-form Ward-Prowse has not been called up despite his fine start to life at West Ham.

Forwards

On the plane: Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jack Grealish (Manchester City), Harry Kane (Bayern Munich), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) and Bukayo Saka (Arsenal)

In the departure lounge: Jarrod Bowen (West Ham), Eberechi Eze (Crystal Palace), James Maddison (Tottenham), Raheem Sterling (Chelsea), Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa) and Callum Wilson (Newcastle)

Hoping for a late ticket: Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton), Eddie Nketiah (Arsenal) and Ivan Toney (Brentford)

England are blessed with an abundance of attacking options.

Skipper Kane is a certainty, as is fleet-footed Saka. Foden, Grealish and Rashford are established performers under Southgate, while Maddison is now a regular squad member.

There are decisions to make beyond them. Sterling has won 82 caps for his country but has not featured since December’s World Cup quarter-final loss to France. Bowen is another fighting for a sport after his October recall, while Eze will hope to earning back the spot he got before injury. Under-21 Euros winner Gibbs-White is another knocking on the door.

As for Kane’s back-up, Watkins scored on his return to the set-up and Nketiah made his debut this month. But Wilson will be hoping to head into another tournament in that role. Toney is the most interesting alternative but his betting ban does not end until January.

Harry Maguire admits he cannot keep just playing once a month for Manchester United but remains confident of winning back his place and helping Erik ten Hag’s team climb the table.

It has been a bumpy ride since the 30-year-old starred in England’s run to the Euro 2020 final, with the defender falling down the pecking order at Old Trafford and then losing the captaincy.

A widely-discussed summer move to West Ham did not materialise and settled Maguire remained at a club where he is trying to get his career back on track with next summer’s Euros looming large.

Gareth Southgate has been a staunch supporter of the centre-back throughout his ups and downs but admitted to concerns over his level of involvement, which the ex-United skipper is determined to improve.

 

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“I have belief in my ability and what I have done in my career as every player should,” Maguire said.

 

“Every player who is on the bench should believe they should be starting, otherwise they wouldn’t be playing at a high level. I am no different.

“Listen, it’s been tough. I want to play games. I want to feel important to the club and I want to feel important to the rest of the team.

“At the moment I haven’t been playing anywhere near as much as I’d like. It’s the bottom line of it.

“I’ve just got to make sure I am ready to take the opportunities when they come along.”

Asked when gametime becomes an issue and, given Euro 2024 is coming up, whether that could be sooner rather than later, said: “Yeah, of course.

“I mean, I’m not going to sit here all my life and play once every month and if it carries on then I’m sure myself and the club will sit down and have a chat about things.

“But, honestly, at the moment I’m fully focused on two games for England, two big games.

“Then I’m fully focused on fighting and trying to get back my place at Manchester United and helping the team climb up the league to where we should be.”

England face Australia in a Wembley friendly on Friday before attention turns to the crunch Euro 2024 qualifier against Italy.

 

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Maguire has kept his England place despite his struggles to break his way into Ten Hag’s line-up, making his first Premier League start of the campaign in Saturday’s 2-1 comeback win against Brentford.

“It’s not my decision whether I start the next game or not,” said the defender, who provided the assist for Scott McTominay’s winner. “I’m unsure on that. I’m sure in a couple of weeks I’ll go back and find out.

“Listen, if you look back on my last 15 to 20 starts for club and country, I would be happy to sit here and say ‘I’m really happy with my performances’.

“My record under this manager speaks for itself. I haven’t started as many games as I’d like, but my win percentage when I’ve played is ridiculously high.

“And of course there’s times when I can do more and times when I can improve and help the team, but, yeah, I’m just wanting to help the team.

“I’m wanting to help the team get out of this position that we’re in at the moment and hopefully we can do that in the coming weeks.”

Maguire benefitted from a string of defensive absentees as he made just his ninth Premier League start since Ten Hag arrived.

The Dutchman has always spoken positively about the defender in public, saying in August that he “has the abilities to be a top-class centre-back” and must “fight for his place”.

 

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“I can only do what I’ve been doing in terms of when I’ve come into the team, bringing positive performances,” Maguire said.

“I’ve started two games this season and come on in a few off the bench, but, yeah, keep working hard in training.

“The manager can only watch training and make his decision from training and the games when I get the opportunity to play.

“I’ll keep working hard, I’ll keep pushing. I have great belief in myself.”

Whether he is still playing for England or enjoying a few pints and watching from the stands, Harry Maguire cannot wait for the European Championship to return to home soil in 2028.

UEFA confirmed on Tuesday that the UK and Ireland’s bid to host the tournament had been approved, having gone into decision day unopposed following the withdrawal of Turkey.

Six of the 10 venues at the five-nation event will be in England, just seven years on from Glasgow and London hosting matches at the pan-European edition.

Gareth Southgate’s men went all the way to the Wembley final at rearranged Euro 2020 and defender Maguire cannot wait to experience another special summer in 2028.

“Hopefully, I will be in the squad but, either way, I am sure I will be at the tournament,” the 30-year-old said.

“I’ll either be in the stands with my mates having a few pints or in the squad, helping the lads. For sure, I’ll be supporting or playing, either way.

“I’m a big fan of England and to have a tournament in this country… you know how the recent tournaments have gone in this country, it brings the country united. There’s a real buzz around the place.

“I experienced playing in the final at Wembley against Italy, which was disappointing in the end, but it is a special place to be involved in when the team is playing well in our country.”

Maguire went to Euro 2016 as a fan before breaking into the international set-up, going onto play a key role for Southgate’s team at three major tournaments.

England can qualify for next year’s Euros over the coming week and intend to go through qualification process in 2028, when UEFA is understood to be reserving two host nation places for any team which does not make it on merit.

“Qualifying for a major tournament is tough but also you have to look at it from a positive side,” 59-cap Maguire said ahead of the friendly against Australia and Euro 2024 qualifier at home to Italy.

“If we don’t qualify for the major tournament, then we are not really there or ready to compete to win the tournament.

“This nation now has been successful now for a 10-year period so we now need to start looking at winning these tournaments.

“If we can’t get out of the qualifying group, we don’t deserve to be there.

“It would be a nightmare scenario but on the other hand we have to play with great belief and confidence that we can get out of the group and qualify.

“That’s what we will be looking to do. My eyes are not on ‘28 yet.

“We’ve got a big Euros coming up next summer and one that we’re looking forward to.”

Under-fire Harry Maguire has revealed former England captain David Beckham got in touch with him after last month’s Hampden Park hounding to help offer support and advice.

Just over two years after being a Manchester United ever-present and part of the European Championship team of the tournament, the 30-year-old defender now finds himself as the butt of jokes.

Many opposing fans have revelled in Maguire’s drop off and Scotland supporters goaded him mercilessly after coming on and scoring an own goal in England’s 3-1 win last month.

Maguire immediately laughed it off as a “little bit of banter” but hearing from somebody that knows a thing or two about intense criticism meant the world to him.

Few have faced sharper focus in an England shirt than Beckham, who has laid bare the pain he suffered after his 1998 World Cup red card against Argentina in a new Netflix documentary.

“I actually spoke with David about three weeks ago, after the Scotland game,” Maguire said.

“He got in touch with me, so it was really nice of him and I really appreciated that. It meant everything. I’ve spoken throughout my career about David Beckham being someone I looked up to and watched when I was a young boy.

“Unfortunately, I didn’t end up on the right wing scoring and assisting as many goals as he has. But he was a big role model when I was growing up.

“It shows how classy he is to reach out to me and to message me. It was something I really appreciated. It was touching really.”

 

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Maguire did not want to divulge too much about their conversation but said the “main thing” Beckham did was to remind him of his career to date and the big moments he has enjoyed.

 

“I think when you’re going through tough moments you’ve got to go through past experiences and past memories and where you’ve gone in your career and what you’ve been through,” he said at St George’s Park.

“Every career is so up and down, especially when you reach what I’ve reached, in terms of being the captain of the biggest club in the world for three and a half years. He’s been in that position and knows what it’s like.

“Obviously having watched the documentary I couldn’t believe how much he went through at the time. In the documentary Gary Neville speaks about how resilient he is as a person. I think he’s been a huge role model for many footballers growing up, especially in my era.”

That chat and his experiences have helped Maguire retain belief and confidence, as has the continued faith shown in him by Gareth Southgate.

The England boss has been in charge for all 59 of his caps and snapped in Glasgow at treatment he said was “ridiculous”, “a joke” and “beyond anything I’ve ever seen”.

“I try and stay away from it all,” Maguire said when Southgate’s comments were put to him.

“Obviously you can’t stay away from it as your family and friends are probably seeing things, they probably read a lot more than I do.

“Yeah, there has been a lot of talk about me over the last year. For that talk to happen, you have got to have built your way up to be a top performer like I’ve done over the previous five years to that.

“Things haven’t gone to plan over the last year or so, but I am sure it will get back on track. A career is a long path. Many ups, many downs, it probably has been a little blip and I am trying to be back to where I was.”

Maguire knows he needs to repay Southgate’s faith by playing more minutes with Euro 2024 looming large and says he can continue to “block” out any abuse.

But he knows that is “a bit tougher” for his loved ones and his mother Zoe last month criticised the “disgraceful” abuse her son has been subjected to, which she claimed went far beyond football.

“It probably affects my family and friends more than it affects myself, especially when I am playing in a game,” Maguire said.

“I have had so many great nights and have so many great memories playing for my country and playing for my club as well. You play football to create memories – not just for myself but for my family and my friends.

“Obviously, the last year has been a little bit difficult for them to enjoy the games as they did in the previous eight or nine years of my career. I’m sure that will change. I’ll keep working hard and keep fighting for my place and keep trying to put things right.”

Erik ten Hag admitted he was concerned about the eye-watering number of injuries Manchester United are picking up ahead of their Champions League opener at Bayern Munich.

This has been a challenging start to the season for the Old Trafford giants, with off-field issues compounded by a run of three defeats in their last four Premier League matches.

United’s 3-1 meek home loss to Brighton is hardly the best preparation to face Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich on Wednesday, nor are the injury problems that continue to pile up.

The Red Devils have lost Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire since the weekend, joining the likes of Raphael Varane, Mason Mount, Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia on the sidelines.

“Yes, of course it’s a concern,” Ten Hag said of the spate of injuries that leaves him with a 21-man squad in Germany featuring four goalkeepers.

“But we knew that before and that’s why we constructed the squad with depth, so we can deal with it, the squad can deal with it.”

Asked whether he can speak to the medical staff about the injury situation, the United boss said: “I don’t know if we have to go to the doctors or physios because they are dealing with the problems.

“First of all, injuries always come in top football because we’re living on the edge.

“Of course we analyse why things happen, but we also have to deal with the facts and it’s always about the players available.

“That’s a strong side we can line up and we have to get the best out of it and we’re focusing on that.

“To bring up tomorrow again, a good team, make the next step, integrate Rasmus Hojlund, (Sergio) Reguilon), two new players and we are here to get a result.”

Sofyan Amrabat, Kobbie Mainoo and Amad Diallo are others out of the Group A opener through injury, while Donny van de Beek is unavailable having been left out of United’s Champions League squad.

Beyond that, Jadon Sancho remains absent “pending resolution of a squad discipline issue” and Antony has been given a leave of absence following assault allegations against him.

“One thing is true, I think from the start last season I think I almost never started with the best starting XI – there was always something like injury,” Ten Hag said.

“But you have to deal with it and I think we always got the results in apart from the period where we are in now.

“That is football and I have the experience in the past, I managed it in the past. It’s not always going up and you have to deal with it.

“I like these situations because now we have to handle it and we have to manage this. You have to know what to do and that is focusing on the process.”

Ten Hag’s belief about their path is why he is not getting thrown off kilter by the negativity heading into United’s first Champions League match in 18 months.

“No, we don’t feel that we need a reset,” the former Bayern Munich reserve boss said. “Absolutely not. “We are in a process and what you see is that in parts of games we play very good but then also in parts of games we played below our levels.

“What we have to demand is be consistent, so we have to step up in certain levels all the time for 90-plus minutes. That is the demand on us.”

Wednesday certainly looks a tough ask for United, who will face England captain Harry Kane after he joined Bayern following a summer of speculation.

United were strongly linked with the 30-year-old but plumped for promise rather than a proven goalscorer by signing Hojlund, 10 years his junior, from Atalanta.

“I think we discussed (Kane and Hojlund during pre-season), so I don’t think we have to repeat this debate,” Ten Hag said.

“We are happy with Rasmus. Obviously first games he was injured, he played now Arsenal, he’s now started.

“Now of course we have to integrate him in a team but you can see he’s a big talent and he will contribute to our game. We are quite confident of that.”

Asked if he had regrets about not signing Kane, Ten Hag simply responded: “No.”

Harry Maguire’s mother has criticised the “disgraceful” abuse her son has been subjected to which she claims goes far beyond football.

The under-fire Manchester United defender dismissed the reception he received at Hampden Park during England’s 3-1 friendly win over Scotland but manager Gareth Southgate said it was “ridiculous” and “a joke”.

Now Maguire’s mum Zoe Maguire-Wilkinson has waded in.

 “As a mum seeing the level of negative and abusive comments in which my son is receiving from some fans, pundits and the media is disgraceful and totally unacceptable to any walk of life never mind someone who works his socks off for club and country,” she wrote on Instagram.

“I was there in the stand as usual, it’s not acceptable what’s been created, over nothing. I understand that in the football world there are ups and downs, positives and negatives but what Harry receives has gone far beyond ‘football’.

“For me seeing him go through what he’s going through is not OK. I would hate to have to see any other parents or players go through this in the future, especially the young boys and girls breaking through the ranks today.

“Harry has a massive heart and it’s a good job he’s mentally strong and can handle it as others may not be able too. I wish this sort of abuse on nobody!”

Little more than two years ago, the centre-back was an ever-present for United and earned a place in the Euros team of the tournament after helping Southgate’s side reach the final.

But a drop in form and club game time, including being replaced as captain at Old Trafford, has led pressure and criticism to ratchet up on Maguire, which culminated in every pass Maguire made on Tuesday being met by an ironic cheer after he was brought on as a half-time substitute – where he scored an unfortunate own goal.

“It pretty much takes the pressure away from my team-mates and puts it all on myself. It makes them play better, for sure,” said Maguire after the game.

“It is a little bit of banter and it is a hostile environment, coming away to Scotland.

“I would not say I am a person who struggles with pressure mentally. I have been through a lot in the last couple of years and I have been Manchester United captain for nearly four years.

“You take a huge lot of responsibility and everything that comes with it and that is a lot of bad as well as good.”

Harry Maguire laughed off his Hampden Park hounding as a “little bit of banter” as the under-fire defender said he can cope with pressure from the stands and on his England place.

Little more than two years ago, the centre-back was an ever-present for Manchester United and earned a place in the Euros team of the tournament after helping Gareth Southgate’s side reach the final.

But a drop in form and club game time, including being replaced as United captain, has led pressure and criticism to ratchet up on Maguire to a point that his international manager snapped following Tuesday’s 3-1 friendly win against Scotland.

Furious Southgate said the treatment of Maguire is “ridiculous”, “a joke” and “beyond anything I’ve ever seen” – a narrative that he believes led to home fans goading him mercilessly in Glasgow.

Every pass Maguire made was met by an ironic cheer after being brought on as a half-time substitute at Hampden Park.

“Well, it pretty much takes the pressure away from my team-mates and puts it all on myself,” Maguire said. “It makes them play better, for sure.

“It is a little bit of banter and it is a hostile environment, coming away to Scotland.

“We wanted to put on a performance and we have dominated from start to finish. We have given them a goal, which is a bit unfortunate you could say.

“But, yes, it was a great reaction from us all. We stayed calm, we stayed composed. I think it was a hostile environment.

“We knew coming here, when you hear the national anthem and the way they disrespect that, we knew it would be hostile and in the second half I got most of it.

“I am happy to go with that, don’t worry about that.”

Maguire was touched by the away support’s backing in Glasgow as Scottish fans attempted to rattle him.

“No, I would not say I am a person who struggles with pressure mentally,” Maguire said. “I have been through a lot in the last couple of years and I have been Manchester United captain for nearly four years.

“You take a huge lot of responsibility and everything that comes with it and that is a lot of bad as well as good.

“But it was a huge honour and of course it is a hostile environment here, which is how I described it, and they piled pressure on myself. I would not say I am used to it but I can deal with it.”

Maguire is grateful for the backing of Southgate, whose faith he believes he repaid with his performances in Scotland and away to Ukraine when he made his first start of the season on Saturday.

The 30-year-old brushed aside suggestions he was rusty but wants the rhythm back of playing week in, week out, saying he is confident that “the luck will turn” if he keeps working hard.

Maguire now turns his attention to the fight for his place at United, where a lack of minutes could put his place at Euro 2024 in jeopardy – something he says is “too far away” to worry about.

West Ham did offer him a route to regular action in the summer but the defender said “we didn’t come to an agreement” and United were happy for him to stay.

“Of course, my England career is a big priority,” he added. “And so is my club career.

“I considered everything and I know, at the moment, when I have not started a game in the first four games of the season, the story comes to me.

“I finished off last season with two very strong performances for England and I have played in all five matches to help put us where we are in qualifying, so I need to keep performing when I get chosen.

“Listen, at club football, I want to play games, I want to play football.

“The first four weeks were hard because it was one game a week and the manager didn’t select me but we have lots of games coming up now and I am sure I will play lots of games.”

Aaron Ramsdale praised Harry Maguire for his continued “outstanding” England displays as the under-fire defender blocks out unrelenting criticism and scrutiny.

The world’s most expensive defender was named in the Euros team of the tournament in 2021, but game time and form at Manchester United have dropped off since then.

Gareth Southgate has stuck by Maguire and brought him on at half-time in Tuesday’s 3-1 friendly win over Scotland, during which he was mocked mercilessly by the Hampden Park crowd before scoring an own goal.

Furious Southgate believes the reaction was as a result of wider “ridiculous” criticism of the defender, which he called “a joke” and said was “beyond anything I’ve ever seen”.

England fans backed Maguire and chanted his name in Glasgow, with team-mates like goalkeeper Ramsdale also offering support to the oft-criticised centre-back.

“Harry Maguire has had criticism for the past 18 months, two years,” he said. “It hasn’t affected him.

“His performances for England have been nigh on outstanding, that’s why he keeps getting picked and played. Simple as that.

“I don’t think a few whistles and groans from the fans are going to change his mindset.

“He had 45 minutes in a game where I thought he played well, kept the ball for us and one unfortunate own goal, if you want to call it that, and people are going to start talking about him and I don’t think it’s needed.”

Ramsdale said Maguire was “superb when he came on” and had no issues with his “really unfortunate” own goal.

“People will say he’s come on and scored an own goal, but if he has any doubt in his mind, I want my defender to try to clear it,” the Arsenal goalkeeper said.

“It’s a cross-shot, he’s tried to deal with it and eight times out of 10 it goes behind for a corner or he clears it.

“Every time he touched the ball the crowd got up and made noises and he dealt with it extremely well, played some lovely passes.

“I thought he accompanied Lewis (Dunk) and rest of the back four really well. Yeah, I’d want him to do that again 10 times over.”

Ramsdale won just his fourth England cap on Tuesday evening and was grateful for Maguire then, just as he has been since making his debut behind him in November 2021.

“He talks you through the game,” he said. “I remember that from my first cap.

“It was San Marino and obviously we won 10-0, but he talked me through the whole game, calmed me down at times and he did the same (against Scotland).

“So, it’s a real dream to play with him and, as I said, it’s just an unfortunate goal that people are going to highlight and it doesn’t need to be that way.”

But Ramsdale knows that everything is pored over in minute detail with England, whether it is Maguire’s selection, Phil Foden’s role or Southgate’s approach.

The team may also be under the microscope, but Ramsdale says that has helped to cultivate a special mentality within the group.

“You’re playing for England,” he said. “It’s the most scrutinised team in the world, I personally think.

“We’ve got so many good players, a pool of players, and everyone will have a different opinion on who should be playing and who shouldn’t be playing.

“I think that’s what makes us so strong as a group, the fact that we can brush things off and use the noise as outside noise and listen to ourselves.”

Put to Ramsdale that is easier said than done, he said: “Exactly, but two years ago we were playing in a European final and then we went to the World Cup and could have done a bit better in different circumstances and played against a good team in France.

“We’re so close to qualifying again and this group has been together so long and we’ve got such a great connection.

“Like you said, it’s easier said than done, but it’s one of the top qualities this group has, that it sticks together and block out any noise that we don’t want to hear.”

Harry Maguire has yet to play for Manchester United this season but could be part of the England squad announced on Thursday as Gareth Southgate deals with defensive headaches.

The Euro 2020 runners-up continue the road to next summer’s tournament with a qualifier against Ukraine in Poland on September 9, before playing a friendly in Scotland three days later.

There have been few surprises in recent selections and that theme is likely to continue when Southgate names his squad for the double-header at St George’s Park on Thursday.

The England boss is expected to largely stick with the tried and tested, meaning the likes of and Maguire, Kalvin Phillips and Jordan Henderson may get the nod despite questions over their international futures.

Maguire was replaced as Manchester United captain over the summer having fallen down the pecking order and has yet to play for Erik ten Hag’s side this season.

The 30-year-old’s last competitive match was June’s 7-0 win against North Macedonia and his next could also come in an England shirt due to a lack of centre-back options.

John Stones has yet to feature in the league this term due to a hip problem and Tyrone Mings, who returned to the international squad in June, has suffered a serious knee injury.

Eric Dier is fit but has not even made the bench for Tottenham this season and has been widely linked with a move before Friday’s transfer deadline.

Ben White, Fikayo Tomori, Marc Guehi and Lewis Dunk are options, while Chelsea defender Levi Colwill is expected to receive his first formal call-up.

The 20-year-old centre-back spent time with the senior set-up in June, including travelling to Malta, before going on to help England Under-21s win the European Championship.

In midfield, Southgate has decisions to make over Phillips and Henderson – two key members of his squad in recent years.

The former has struggled to make an impact at treble-winning Manchester City since joining from Leeds last summer and has yet to play a minute this term.

Southgate previously indicated a continued lack of game time could impact Phillips and Maguire, while Henderson’s move to Saudi Arabia raises questions over his international role ahead of the Euros.

England’s vice-captain joined Al-Ettifaq in the summer – a move that Southgate said makes it harder to assess the 33-year-old’s level, albeit clarifying “we would be stupid” to rule him out.

There is better news regarding another of England’s most experienced players after Raheem Sterling’s return to form after a sticky first campaign at Chelsea.

The 82-cap forward has not played for England since the World Cup quarter-final defeat to France, with injury ruling him out in March and a hamstring issue lying him low in June.

That omission was described as a “mutual decision” that appears to have paid off given Sterling’s lively start to the new season, including a brace and assist in Friday’s 3-0 win over Luton.

Chelsea team-mate Reece James is set to miss September’s matches through injury, as are the Manchester United duo of Luke Shaw and Mason Mount.

Morgan Gibbs-White, a key part of England’s Under-21s Euros triumph, is pushing to get his first call-up after continuing where he left off back at Nottingham Forest.

Eberechi Eze will be looking to maintain his place having made his debut in June and Rico Henry is another reportedly in contention.

Brentford team-mate Ivan Toney remains unavailable as he serves a Football Association betting ban and Roma’s Tammy Abraham is recovering from reconstructive surgery on the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

Callum Wilson has not started for Newcastle this season but fellow striker Ollie Watkins – whose last cap came in March 2022 – is looking sharp at Aston Villa.

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