Harry Kane says Gareth Southgate is "one of England's greatest ever managers" while paying tribute to the outgoing Three Lions boss.

Southgate announced on Tuesday that he was stepping down as England manager following their heartbreaking Euro 2024 final defeat to Spain.

It was the second successive European Championships final under the 53-year-old since he took over from Sam Allardyce in September 2016.

He won 61 of his 102 matches in charge of the national team, while also leading them to the World Cup semi-finals and quarter-finals.

Kane was the most-used player during his tenure, making 81 of his 98 appearances under Southgate, who first gave the forward the captain's armband.

"Boss. Thank you for everything you have done for me and our country!" Kane said in a post on X.

"You have been one of England's greatest-ever managers, and it has been a pleasure to have served as your captain throughout. You helped our nation connect and believe in our team again.

"There have been so many highlights, and we've made memories together that will last forever! Good luck with your next chapter, and I'm sure we'll see each other around. Thanks Boss!"

Luke Shaw, who made 28 appearances under Southgate, including both Euros finals, also echoed the England captain's praise in his tribute to Southgate.

"Gareth, you put everything into this team and brought this nation together with so many amazing memories!" Shaw posted on Instagram.

"I will always be grateful for the highs and the lows because, no matter what, you kept us believing we could. You're one of the best there ever was! Thank you boss."

Luke Shaw has been handed his first start of Euro 2024 with the left-back replacing Kieran Trippier for England's showdown with Spain in Berlin.

Shaw, who missed the last three months of the 2023-24 season, did not feature in any of England's first four matches.

However, after coming on as a substitute against Switzerland in the quarters and then again against the Netherlands in the semi-finals, the 29-year-old was included in Gareth Southgate's starting XI for Sunday's final.

Trippier, who had filled in on the left, has dropped to the bench. Shaw's inclusion was the only change for Southgate from the team that started against the Dutch, meaning the semi-final matchwinner Ollie Watkins had to settle for a place among the substitutes yet again.

It is the first time Shaw, who scored early on in the Euro 2020 final, which England lost on penalties to Italy, has started for the Three Lions in over a year.

There was two changes for Spain, with Luis de la Fuente bringing back Dani Carvajal after the full-back had served his one-match suspension following his red card in La Roja's quarter-final defeat of Germany. 

Jesus Navas, who will be retiring from international football after the tournament, made way for Carvajal. Likewise, Robin Le Normand came back from suspension to replace Nacho.

Nico Williams and Lamine Yamal, whose stunner dragged Spain level against France in the last four, were handed starts on the flanks, either side of Dani Olmo, who ahead of kick-off was one of six players tied on three goals in the race for the Golden Boot, along with Harry Kane, Jamal Musiala, Cody Gakpo, Ivan Schranz and Georges Mikautadze.

Yamal, at the age of 17 years and one day, is the youngest ever player to feature in a World Cup or European Championship final, surpassing Pele's record from the 1958 World Cup (17y 249d). 

This will be England’s first major tournament final played outside of England, with the 1966 World Cup and Euro 2020 finals being played at Wembley Stadium. The Three Lions have never lost a match in Berlin in six attempts (W4 D2), only playing more in Helsinki (eight), Amsterdam (seven) and Sunderland (seven) without ever suffering defeat.

Meanwhile, this is Spain's fifth European Championship final, with La Roja winning the trophy three times (1964, 2008, 2012) and losing once (1984). They could become the first team to win the competition on four separate occasions.

Luke Shaw does not understand criticism of England manager Gareth Southgate, who is looking to lead the Three Lions to successive European Championship finals.

Having lost the final of the delayed 2020 edition on penalties to Italy, England are just one game away from the Euro 2024 showpiece game after beating Switzerland on spot-kicks on Saturday.

They face the Netherlands in the last four on Wednesday, with Southgate looking to become the first Three Lions manager to lead the team to a tournament final on foreign soil.

Saturday's quarter-final was Southgate's 100th game in charge of England. He has led the team to three semi-finals in four tournaments at the helm, after they reached two semi-finals in their previous 17 competitions before his appointment.

His 13 major tournament (World Cup/Euros) wins are the most of any Three Lions boss, while only Walter Winterbottom (383) and Alf Ramsey (224) have overseen more England goals as manager (210).

Despite his record, Southgate has continued to be criticised over a perceived negative approach in Germany, with some fans throwing cups at him after a goalless group-stage draw with Slovenia.

"I don't understand the criticism," Shaw said on Monday. "What he's done for the country and us players, he's taken us to the next level. 


"No manager has been as successful as he has recently. Us players love him, he's exactly what we need. 

"He allows us to go out on the pitch and be our best. He's shown a lot of faith and trust in picking me."

Shaw made his first appearance of the tournament off the bench against Switzerland, having seen his 2023-24 season ended in February by a hamstring injury.

While the Manchester United man has not enjoyed watching on from the sidelines, he was always convinced England would progress despite falling behind in both of their knockout ties thus far, against Slovakia and Switzerland.

"It was tough. I felt more nervous watching than playing, it is quite tough," he said. "I never once thought that we were going to go out, we have to believe right to the end.

"Good moments like Jude Bellingham's [overhead kick versus Slovakia] can happen, but it's down to us to deliver that on the pitch. Game by game we are getting better, there's things we can still improve on but we're looking good."

England manager Gareth Southgate is satisfied with UEFA's "common sense decision" to hand Jude Bellingham a suspended ban.

Bellingham was fined €30,000 on Friday, while being hit with a one-match ban, which is suspended for a year dependent on good behaviour.

That was Bellingham's punishment for an overzealous celebration after he scored a stunning overhead kick to restore parity in England's Euro 2024 last-16 tie with Slovakia.

The Three Lions went on to win 2-1 after extra time, with Bellingham insisting on social media that the celebration had not been meant to cause any offence.

And while UEFA has punished the 21-year-old, Southgate believes the governing body has handled the situation well, with Bellingham available for England's clash with Switzerland on Saturday.

"I thought it was a common sense decision," Southgate said.

"When you score a goal of the quality that he did, at the age that he is, you are going to get a rush of adrenaline.

"There was no intent in the gesture towards anybody but communication he has with his family.

"From our perspective, we thought it was a sensible outcome."

It has been reported England, who have limped their way through the tournament so far, will switch to a three-at-the-back system against the Swiss.

Southgate, though, was giving little away.

He said: "We're always considering the best way to approach a game.

"We're always trying to prepare to give our opponents the best possible game."

Southgate, who will manage his 100th England game on Saturday, knows the Three Lions have more to give.

"You obviously want to play well as a team, your ambition is to play as well as you possibly can," he added.

"Every team wants to excite, every team wants to score goals. We've played opponents who have made it very, very difficult for us.

"And there's been a lot of expectation on the team in the early part of the tournament especially, so I feel that the team even in training now look in a different place mentally. They look more fluid, and I'm expecting us to play well."

Southgate confirmed Luke Shaw was fit and available for selection, though did not reveal whether the left-back would feature.

With the group stages behind us, Euro 2024 now enters the business end of the tournament, when there's no more margin for error.

The favourites are all through in the main, with Croatia the biggest name to drop out in the group stage.

There are some surprise packages that have made the last 16 too, though: tournament debutants Georgia stunned Portugal to reach this stage, while Austria finished above France and the Netherlands to top Group D.

But as the tournament goes on, there are some serious questions being asked of the respective coaches when it comes to team selections, while other players nurse knocks ahead of the knockouts.

And here, using Opta data, we take a look at some of those selection dilemmas.


Should Southgate drop Foden and can Shaw stay fit?

Phil Foden came into Euro 2024 on the back of a magnificent season for Manchester City. He was named the Premier League Player of the Year, scoring 19 goals in 35 top-flight appearances in 2023-24.

Yet playing out on the left side of England's attack, with Jude Bellingham deployed centrally, Foden has failed to replicate that form for the Three Lions.

Anthony Gordon directly contributed to 21 Premier League goals for Newcastle United (11 goals, 10 assists), and appears able to offer the kind of directness that seems to be missing from England's attack.

Gordon would seemingly replace Foden if he were to start, so what is England's recent record at major tournaments without the City star?


Foden has featured in 10 games at the World Cup and Euros for England, who have won six of those games, drawing three and losing one. They score 1.8 goals per game with him in the team compared to 1.6 in the five tournament matches in which he has not featured.

Defensively, England do seem a little more solid when Foden does not feature, with their goals conceded per game dropping from 0.6 with him in, to 0.2 without the 24-year-old.

Behind Foden, though, the left-back position is an issue. Luke Shaw has not played for club or country since February, but Kieran Trippier has failed to offer the same attacking output or balance while deputising, and could be an injury doubt ahead of England's clash with Slovakia.

The sense of Southgate in taking an unfit Shaw can certainly be questioned, though when factoring in major tournaments only, you can understand why.

England have a 58.3% win percentage (7/12) when Shaw is in the team compared to a 35.3% (6/17) success rate when he is not, while conceding double the amount of goals per 90 without Shaw (1.0 to 0.5).

Does Ronaldo deserve Martinez's backing?

Cristiano Ronaldo is the record appearance maker (28) and goalscorer (14) at the Euros, but at 39, should he be spearheading Portugal's attack?


Ronaldo failed to score from 12 shots in the group stage, as for the first time at a major tournament, he did not manage to hit the back of the net in the first round.

The Al-Nassr striker scored 10 goals from qualifying, but against more resilient defences, he has found it tougher, and against Georgia he was kept quiet, though he did spurn one Opta-defined 'big chance'.

Ronaldo's appearance against Georgia marked his 50th such match at a major tournament, a European record, with the five-time Ballon d'Or winner having only sat out two fixtures at a World Cup or Euros since 2004. Portugal have a 46% win ratio with him in their team in major competitions, but is it time to cut the cord?


France need Mbappe's magic

Kylian Mbappe recovered from a broken nose to play, while donning a mask, for France against Poland last time out, and it was his penalty that put Les Bleus ahead before Robert Lewandowski equalised from the spot.

That marked Mbappe's first goal at the Euros, while he is now just one behind Michel Platini (14) in France's all-time list of record goalscorers at major tournaments.

France recorded 2.32 xG against Poland, with Mbappe accounting for 1.31 of that. In the match that he missed, a 0-0 draw against the Netherlands, Les Bleus mustered only 1.43 xG, showing how much Mbappe was missed.

Missing out

There are some big players who definitely will not be featuring in the last 16, and that is due to the fact they are suspended after picking up two yellow cards throughout the group stage.

Italy's Riccardo Calafiori has been one of the stars of the tournament, but the Bologna defender will not play against Switzerland on Saturday.

Hosts Germany will also be without a key defender in Jonathan Tah.

This campaign has been Tah's first at a major tournament, but the Bayer Leverkusen centre-back has been impressive so far and will be a miss when Germany go up against Denmark.

Turkiye, meanwhile, will have to play Austria without Hakan Calhanoglu.

The Inter playmaker has only missed one match for his country at a major tournament, though Turkiye did win that one, but facing in-form Austria without their best player is a daunting prospect. 


England have everyone in contention for their Euro 2024 opener against Serbia with Luke Shaw possibly able to appear from the bench, Gareth Southgate has revealed.

The Three Lions begin their fourth – and possibly final – major tournament under Southgate on Sunday, taking on Serbia in their first match in Group C in Gelsenkirchen.

Their preparations have been far from ideal, with Harry Maguire missing the tournament due to a calf injury and fellow centre-back John Stones battling a knock and illness.

Luke Shaw, meanwhile, has not played since February due to a hamstring problem, and was thought unlikely to feature until England's third group game against Slovenia.

However, Southgate has confirmed the Manchester United left-back is in contention to make the bench for Sunday's game, with Stones and the rest of his team-mates fully fit.

"Everyone is available. We have a decision whether Luke is a possible to use from the bench or not but everyone has trained today and is available," Southgate said on Saturday.

England are playing at an 11th edition of the Euros, racking up more games at the tournament (38) than any other team has managed without winning it.

As Southgate looks to end 58 years of hurt at major tournaments, he is breaking the competition down into a series of short-term targets.

"I'm hugely excited," he said. "To lead your country into a major tournament is an amazing honour. I'm very privileged. It's as exciting as it was ahead of Russia, if not more so. 

"In terms of our standing, you've seen Germany and Spain, there are a lot of good teams in this tournament. 

"We firstly have to progress through the group and then there's the opportunity to go further. Our focus is on qualifying from the group.

"When you’re trying to achieve exceptional things, you have to break it down into manageable chunks and the first priority is to get out of the group and work from there."

While many have written Serbia off ahead of the match, head coach Dragan Stojkovic is convinced his side are ready for the challenge of facing a tournament favourite.

"We should have maximum concentration and the quality at the maximum level, and I would not make a difference between the first, second or the third match, each of those matches are of extraordinary importance," Stojkovic told reporters.

"We know that we are starting against one of the favourites playing against England, but we have really done a lot to prepare as best as possible. 

"Trust me, they [the players] can hardly wait for the match to start, because physically and tactically at the same time, I am convinced that we are ready to face the challenges that come with England."

Luke Shaw regrets playing through the pain barrier for Manchester United, as the England left-back hopes to feature at Euro 2024.

Shaw has been selected for Gareth Southgate's squad heading to Germany despite not having featured for club or country since February.

The 28-year-old went off injured while playing for Man United against Luton Town, a fixture that he has admitted was a mistake to play in.

"If the manager asks me to play, I'm never going to say 'no.' But I shouldn't have played," Shaw said.

"It's kind of everyone's fault. Partly my fault, partly the medical staff.

"I came back too quickly and I actually ended up getting another injury in my hamstring. I did push to do everything I can to be fit for United."

Shaw's inclusion has raised eyebrows, especially with his United club-mate Harry Maguire, who has not played since April due to injury, missing the cut.

When asked if he is likely to play in England's opener against Serbia on June 16, Shaw said: "That's not really down to me. We just go day by day, see how I'm feeling in training.

"I would love to make the first game, but I don't want to rush too quickly because realistically I've only got one chance. If I feel something, then that's it. I don't want that to happen."

England also face Denmark and Slovenia in their group at Euro 2024.

England will be without Bukayo Saka, John Stones and Harry Maguire for Monday's friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina, manager Gareth Southgate confirmed on Sunday.

Saka will be rested after missing Arsenal's last Premier League game of the season, while Stones is still finding fitness after his club campaign with title-winning Manchester City.

In more concerning news for the Three Lions, Manchester United pair Maguire and Luke Shaw are potential longer-term absentees ahead of Euro 2024, which starts on June 14 in Germany.

"All are progressing well," Southgate said at his pre-match press conference. "We are pleased with the progress they've made, none of them will be involved tomorrow.

"Same tomorrow for Bukayo Saka and for John Stones. Everybody else will be involved.

"John has reported a bit later so hasn't worked with us, he will follow an individual programme. Bukayo is fine, he will be rested tomorrow and should be available by Friday."

Anthony Gordon is another doubt after posting for England duty following an impressive season with Newcastle United.

"Gordon has a chance to be available for Friday," Southgate added. "The other two [Maguire and Shaw] are more unlikely, let's see how far they can go."

Though there are injury concerns, Southgate will likely head to the upcoming European Championship with a similar defence as to what helped England to the World Cup semi-finals in 2018.

The Three Lions boss says that proves the quality of his defence, which boasts the likes of Maguire, Stones, Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier and goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

"It's testimony to their consistency," he continued. "They've all been playing at top clubs throughout that time. They have delivered in the biggest matches under intense pressure.

"There is a bond in that group from experiencing the big nights together. Coming through those challenges, we have some good young defenders coming through now.

"What they are brilliant at is making the players feel welcome. They have allowed to settle in as any of those players could be in the team over the next five or six weeks."

Trippier is expected to captain the side in the absence of Harry Kane, who is not likely to start but should be fit from the bench after his back injury sustained when playing for Bayern Munich.

"It's going to be very special," the Newcastle defender said of captaining his country. "I have to thank Gareth for giving me that trust.

"But if I have the armband or not, or if I play or not, I will always be there for the team. To lead the lads out will be special. My son will be mascot as well."

Luke Shaw has hit back at those "questioning his loyalty" to Manchester United following an injury-hit campaign.

The left-back made just 15 appearances for United in all competitions this season and has not played since February due to a muscle injury.

Despite that, Shaw received a call-up to Gareth Southgate’s provisional 33-man squad for Euro 2024, though the England manager said he is a "long shot" to make the final squad.

Taking to Instagram, Shaw posted: "There’s nothing I want to do more than play and win with United.

"I don’t normally react to things I see on social media but there’s a lot of people questioning my loyalty to this club and asking how I am fit for England but not United.

"The reality is I am not 100% fit for either right now, but I am doing everything I can and constantly working to be [fit]. I have been at this club for 10 years through highs and lows and for anyone to question my loyalty is obviously frustrating.

"My biggest focus right now is being fit and then whatever happens this summer I will be ready."

England will play two friendlies before the Euros, and Southgate will announce his official 26-man squad following their game against Iceland on June 7.  

Despite including him in his preliminary squad, Gareth Southgate says it is a "long shot" that Luke Shaw will be fit for Euro 2024.

Shaw has been sidelined since February with a muscle injury but is the only recognised left-back in Southgate’s 33-man squad as Ben Chilwell also misses out due to injury.

Joe Gomez is an option for the position after filling in for Liverpool at times this season, while Kieran Trippier has also played at left-back for England in the past.

However, Shaw has been the first-choice left-back for the last two major tournaments, and Southgate admits that he will give him every chance to be fit.

"[Luke Shaw's] up against it," said Southgate. "He's missed a lot of football.

"The fact that he has been our first choice in that position, we've probably given him a lot longer than we would have done.

"I’ve talked with him and the medical team, we’ve been liaising with Manchester United, I'm not sure what's realistic at this time. I have to say, he's a long shot."

Southgate may have other injury problems on his hands. Harry Kane missed the end of Bayern Munich’s season due to a back injury, while Harry Maguire has not played since April.

"The job here is to adapt to the hand of cards you're dealt with," Southgate added.

"The injuries are a very complex thing. Sometimes players have had to play more than they might have done. Some players have come back earlier than they might have done.

"There's definitely been a lot of matches in the calendar. But it's too easy to say it's just the [fault of a] winter World Cup. It's lots of different reasons."

Southgate will cut his squad down to 26 players after England face Iceland in their final pre-tournament friendly at Wembley Stadium on June 7. 

Manchester United defender Luke Shaw is fighting against the odds to be passed fit for the crucial FA Cup final against rivals Manchester City.

Red Devils boss Erik ten Hag revealed the left-back’s injury has proven more complicated than first thought and added his chances of making the game are low, but has not definitively ruled out the England international.

He is more optimistic about Harry Maguire, though even the centre-back was only rated as having a “fair chance” of being passed fit to face Pep Guardiola’s men at Wembley on May 25.

Before that, United will finish their Premier League campaign with a match away to Brighton on Sunday.

Despite a desperately disappointing campaign, there are still two potential routes for United to make it into Europe for next season.

Ten Hag's side are eighth in the table, level on 57 points with seventh-placed Newcastle United, who visit Brentford on the final day.

If United beat FA Cup holders City, they will play in the Europa League next season.

Failure to do so would mean they must have finished seventh in the league to secure a spot in the Europa Conference League, so they will need to better Newcastle’s result on the final day.

Shaw has been restricted to playing in 15 games for United across all competitions this season. He was expected to return before the end of the campaign when he suffered a muscle problem in the away win over Luton Town in February.

Ten Hag was asked about Shaw and Maguire ahead of the last two games of United’s season, a fitness update which has added importance due to their likely inclusion, if fit, in England’s squad for Euro 2024 this summer.

"For England, I can't say, it's not up to me," Ten Hag said. "But for the cup final, we're working on it.

"Harry Maguire, it's a fair chance that he will be available. 

“Luke is more complicated, in this moment, let's say it's a low chance that he will make it. But there is still a very small, reduced chance."

As well as giving Maguire a chance of making the final, Ten Hag also confirmed fellow defenders Raphael Varane and Victor Lindelof have returned to training in a boost ahead of the Man City clash.

Varane is leaving Man Utd at the end of the season, with a number of other players expected to follow him out the exit door, but Ten Hag wants his squad fully focused amid frenzied speculation over transfer activity.

"All the issues will only distract us,” he said.

“We know what we are building on, and we have to keep this process going.”

Shaw, 28, played in last season’s FA Cup final defeat to City and has also been a runner-up at the Euros, having scored in England’s eventual defeat on penalties to Italy in the Euro 2020 final.

Manchester United defenders Lisandro Martinez and Victor Lindelof have been ruled out of action for at least a month with muscle injuries.

Lindelof, 29, came off with a hamstring problem during Saturday’s Premier League match against Brentford and was replaced by Argentinian centre-back Martinez.

However, the club said on Tuesday night the latter has now sustained a calf strain in training and will miss United’s next few games, starting with Thursday’s league match against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

United have struggled with injuries during a largely underwhelming campaign.

Martinez, fellow defenders Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw and summer signing Mason Mount are among the other players to spend chunks of the season on the sidelines.

UEFA will consider a possible increase in the size of squads for Euro 2024 at a meeting next month.

A number of coaches have called on European football’s governing body to allow countries to take 26 players to Germany instead of 23, a move England boss Gareth Southgate may be glad to accept as he deals with a number of injuries.

“We have taken note of comments expressed by some national team coaches on the squad size for Euro 2024,” UEFA said in a statement released on Friday.

“A workshop with the participating teams will be held on 8 April and on that occasion UEFA will listen to the views of the coaches.

“Any idea in this respect will then be considered and assessed.”

This summer’s finals is the first time since the 2018 World Cup that national team managers are having to pick a 23-man squad for a major tournament after it was expanded to 26 following the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking after his side’s 2-2 draw with Belgium at Wembley, Southgate said: “It seems to be (settled at 23).

“There is one more UEFA meeting where there’s been a little bit of talk amongst some of the coaches about possibly increasing that.”

That meeting will be part of a wider finalists’ workshop on April 8 and 9 in Dusseldorf, where Southgate will not push for 26 but will accept it if the decision goes that way.

Southgate, who has previously said it is a “bigger skill to pick a 23”, was asked if he was in favour of a move to an expanded selection and said with a smile: “Well, given where we are now!

“We’ve got to make the best decisions with what we know and some of those currently are going to be medical decisions.

“And we’ve been able to get those right in the previous tournaments. We’ve been able to give people time, but with 23 that’s definitely more difficult.”

Previous expanded selections allowed Southgate to take a calculated gamble on the fitness of Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson at Euro 2020 as the pair recovered from injury.

The same went for Kyle Walker and Kalvin Phillips at the 2022 World Cup as they worked their way back to fitness, with injured duo Luke Shaw and Reece James potential beneficiaries if it goes to 26 this time.

Erik ten Hag expects Tyrell Malacia to end up missing the entire season through injury as the Manchester United manager’s left-back frustrations continue.

The Red Devils have been beset by problems during a bumpy second term for Ten Hag, who is fighting for his job over the coming weeks and months.

United have had to deal with key absentees and been left light in certain areas, most problematically left-back as Luke Shaw’s issues have compounded the season-long absence of Malacia.

Ten Hag said just under a month ago that he soon hoped to have the Netherlands international back from a knee complaint, having dealt with some setbacks during rehab.

But the United boss will have to keep muddling through at left-back for the foreseeable future after he revealed Malacia’s return is unlikely to come this season.

“We talk about one of my biggest frustrations is there,” Ten Hag said.

“You can accept in a position that a player is not available, but when two players are not available over the course of the season that is very frustrating.

“Because that is also very difficult to catch up as a team, but we dealt with it in the best way, but of course it is a disadvantage.”

Asked how far away Malacia is from returning, the United boss said: “I think it’s going to be difficult for this season to be available.

“He will fight, he’s back on the pitch, but not in the team and the process had some setbacks and is still going really slowly forward, and the season is going to an end.”

That blow puts United’s decision to allow Sergio Reguilon to return to Tottenham midway through a season-long loan in the spotlight.

Signed in September to provide back-up with Malacia lied low, the Spain international was sent back to Spurs in January and has since made a temporary switch to Brentford.

Asked if it was a mistake letting Reguilon go back, frustrated Ten Hag said: “I think it’s a good question because in December I had the talks internally with, of course, medical and performance (staff).

“They assured me they (injured defenders) will be fit in January, they will be both fit in January, so you have two left full-backs.

“Then when you have two left full-backs and you have a third one, that means I always have to disappoint one full-back.”

Malacia was undergoing rehab at that point and Shaw was recovering from an injury issue that kept him out for five weeks, returning in late January against Newport in the FA Cup.

That was one of five appearances the England international managed before sustaining a muscle injury that is expected to rule him out until mid-May.

“I think it’s the same,” Ten Hag said of Shaw. “Maybe for the last games of the season, but we don’t expect him back this or next month.”

The duo are among a number of injuries at a key time for United, with Everton arriving in the Premier League on Saturday lunchtime before hosting Liverpool in next weekend’s FA Cup quarter-final.

Those matches could also go a long way to deciding the future of Ten Hag, who he believes Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s Ineos understands the issues he has had to contend with this season.

“They are aware of it,” the Dutchman said. “We talk a lot with each other, talk a lot about processes and the way we want to go for the future.”

Pushed on whether they appreciate the difficulties and are understanding, Ten Hag added: “That is what they’re telling me but I’m independent, I’m here to win.

“I’m in a process and we keep going in this process. We know which direction we want to go.

“We have now big setbacks, we’ve had big setbacks but we keep going and have a strong mentality. We keep fighting and keep pushing the team in the right direction.”

Erik ten Hag admits he must solve a defensive “puzzle” for Sunday’s Manchester derby.

Harry Maguire has joined Luke Shaw, Lisandro Martinez, Tyrell Malacia and Aaron Wan-Bissaka on the sidelines through injury and Manchester United boss Ten Hag is expected to pick from the same squad that edged past Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup in midweek.

Sofyan Amrabat returned to the United side on Wednesday on the left, with Diogo Dalot on the right.

Ten Hag said on manutd.com: “We have to lay the puzzle because we are still missing full-backs. We are still missing centre-halves.

“So we have to be creative but I think we can. On Wednesday, we showed we can, if we have the right plan.

“But, more important than that, if we have that passion, and that ambition, and desire and determination to win the game, then we are able to do it.”

United’s best run of the season was halted last weekend by a 2-1 defeat against Fulham, dealing a major blow to their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League.

A trip to the Etihad Stadium, where United have conceded a combined 10 goals in their last two visits, presents a formidable challenge, but Ten Hag believes they can put the Fulham disappointment behind them.

“Of course, it’s annoying,” he said. “It still annoys me, that game against Fulham. But it happened and, also, we can’t forget what happened before that.

“From January on, we are in very good form, on a very good run. We bounced back (at Forest) and we have to keep this process going. We’re looking forward, great games are coming up – big games and good challenges.

“So the team is really excited about that. I’m excited about going into this game, and also the coming games, but Sunday is very important.”

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