Erik ten Hag has issued a warning to Manchester United skipper Harry Maguire over a starting role.
The Red Devils face Southampton at St Mary’s tomorrow.
Speaking before the game, the new United manager has made it clear that the captain armband does not act as an assurance of a spot in the team for the England international.
Ten Hag dropped Maguire to the bench against Liverpool on Monday.
In his absence, Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez did an incredible job at the back.
“I am not looking (to name a new captain) so far – we are only one game (without Maguire),” Ten Hag said when quizzed about the possibility of changing club captain.
“We have a leadership group and Harry is one of them, Bruno is one of them.
“Bruno did quite well as captain. He led by example and he brings so much energy to the team in and out of possession.
“When you are captain doesn’t mean you are established to play always, especially when you also have Varane in your squad.
“We have options at centre-back. And you have already said Varane’s stature is immense and in pre-season, we took a decision to build him physically.
“We are happy we built him in that way and you see when the team needed him he was really there.
“His profile, his stature and what he won already in the past show he can really contribute to his team.”
Erik ten Hag is leading the transformation at Manchester United
The former Ajax gaffer is a shrewd manager with a specific style of play.
He understands that the task in front of him is huge. The success of this assignment will demand bold calls from him.
Maguire has been a regular at United since his £80 million move from Leicester City in 2019.
However, the 29-year-old faced severe criticism due to his poor form last season.
The appointment of the new manager didn’t change his fortunes as he performed poorly against Brighton & Hove Albion and Brentford.
Both teams exploited his lack of movement and speed.
Varane started ahead of him against Liverpool and he showed what United were missing.
His dogged display at the back played a major role in Red Devils’ 2-1 success against Liverpool.
The recent statement from Ten Hag shows that he will only start deserving players.
He won’t let the big names command his decision-making as it did for previous United managers.
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