Erik ten Hag has told the senior centre-backs at Manchester United that their selection this season will be on a rotational basis, according to The Telegraph.
With Eric Bailly on the verge of completing a move to Olympique Marseille, United have six senior central defenders at the club, although two of those (Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe) could follow the Ivorian out this summer.
Harry Maguire, Lisandro Martínez, Raphael Varane and Victor Lindelof are the four defenders in contention for selection to Ten Hag and the Dutch manager has now told the quartet that they will be rotated in and out of the starting XI.
Maguire and Martínez were initially believed to be the new manager’s preferred pairing at centre-back, with the duo starting United’s first two league games of the season.
However, back-to-back defeats forced Ten Hag to bring Varane into the starting XI against Liverpool, with Maguire dropping to the bench.
Martínez and Varane produced a solid display against the Merseysiders on Monday en route to a 2-1 victory and the duo are expected to retain their places against Southampton this weekend.
The manager has now said all four men will have their chances to stake their claim with United competing in four different competitions this season.
Three of the four defenders are fighting for a World Cup spot for their respective nations and will be looking to cement their spot in Ten Hag’s plans.
Maguire set to fight for his place at United
Maguire has not had the smoothest sailing since his £80 million move to Manchester from Leicester City in 2019.
He received plenty of stick for his performances last season and was axed by the new boss after United’s disastrous showing against Brentford.
The team captain is willing to fight for his place in the team despite reports of Chelsea targeting him as a fall-back option in case they fail in their pursuit of Wesley Fofana.
United are not interested in selling the 29-year-old, with reports of a swap deal with Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic believed to be inaccurate.
Maguire will need to double down on his efforts to regain a starting berth at Old Trafford with the World Cup fast approaching.
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