I’m relieved – Erik ten Hag on Harry Maguire staying at Man United

Harry Maguire became a defensive pillar throughout Manchester United’s injury problems this season, and Erik ten Hag is happy (and relieved) that he stayed at the team last summer.

Six defenders for United are out of the lineup for their dinnertime match at Bournemouth on Saturday: Tyrell Malacia, Jonny Evans, Luke Shaw, Lisandro Martinez, Raphael Varane, and Victor Lindelof.

Following Ten Hag’s forced substitution of his 12th different center-back partnership (and 28th back-four) of the season against Liverpool last weekend, Maguire is anticipated to play alongside adolescent Willy Kambwala once more.

After becoming frustrated with his lack of first-team opportunities, the 31-year-old had the option to leave United last summer, and West Ham made a £30 million bid, which United accepted.

I’m relieved – Erik ten Hag on Harry Maguire staying at Man United

Ten Hag is happy that Maguire stayed, though, since the £80 million acquisition from Leicester City has made 27 appearances for United this season across all competitions.

‘We were always very happy with Harry Maguire, but he wants to play,’ said the United boss. ‘He’s a great leader, he’s a very good defender and very comfortable on the ball.

‘When I count all of those abilities, on our defending line we have problems, he is even more important to lead that line and to make us play from the back. We are very pleased he is there and we need him to get our results and achieve our targets.’

On the lack of a settled back-four, Ten Hag added: ‘It’s very difficult. So everyone who has a little bit of knowledge about football, they know it will affect your results and performances. Back -four is always the foundation to get result. We still have to win, we know that. Others have to take responsibility.’

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