Ten Hag warns Maguire he’s still way down Man Utd pecking order despite World Cup heroics and can LEAVE club if he wants
HARRY MAGUIRE has been told he can fight for his Manchester United place — or leave the club.
Erik ten Hag is prepared to give the England defender, 29, the chance to battle his way back into favour at Old Trafford.
GettyHarry Maguire was brilliant for England throughout the World Cup[/caption]
GettyBut he was dropped shortly after Erik ten Hag’s arrival at Man Utd and has not been a regular since[/caption]
But the Red Devils boss says it will be the England centre-back who chooses where his future lies, as he faces up to returning from starting at the World Cup to sitting on United’s bench.
Asked if Maguire could go, Ten Hag said: “Only when he doesn’t want to be in these circumstances any more.
“Until that moment, I am happy with him.”
Ten Hag dumped Maguire after back-to-back defeats against Brighton and Brentford in United’s first two games of the season.
The Dutchman says his £85million man — the most expensive defender on the planet — “performed badly” and lost confidence.
Not for the first time, Maguire looked like a different animal wearing the white of his country as opposed to the red of his club as he started all five games for the Three Lions.
But that cuts no ice with the Dutchman who stressed: “I can only battle this after being asked many times if he is good enough.
“It is clear he is good enough to play at the highest level. Then it is up to him to show that confidence on the pitch and he didn’t show that in all the games.
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“We want him to bring that back to Manchester with him so he can bring it on the pitch for United. When he is playing with his confidence like now he is a massively important player for us and that is what everyone expects.
“That’s what Harry expects from himself. He has that high standard, he wants to play at the highest level, he wants to lead the defensive line, so it is up to him.
“I’m sure he has the potential to play in our style and fit into our system. He had a period in Manchester where he performed badly and then, of course, there are difficulties but when he is confident in himself, he will put that on the pitch.
“When he is working hard you will get that confidence and you are seeing that with the way he was playing for England.
“I expect from him, the team knows what they expect from him.
“If he does that he will be a great player for us.”
He had a period in Manchester where he performed badly and then, of course, there are difficulties but when he is confident in himself, he will put that on the pitch.
Erik ten Hag on Harry Maguire
Gareth Southgate showed faith in Maguire, who had started only one Prem game in three months after getting the axe following United’s horror show 4-0 defeat against the Bees.
But he is unlikely to find regular action when he returns to Old Trafford, having been demoted to Ten Hag’s fourth-choice centre-back behind Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez and Victor Lindelof.
Ten Hag added: “It is up to him to contribute and to play himself back into the team.
“We have 16-18 players in the squad and that is what you need at the top level if you want to play for trophies.”
Chelsea and Barcelona have previously shown an interest in Maguire.
SunSport revealed that Barca enquired about him as part of drawn-out summer negotiations when United tried and failed to sign Dutch midfielder Frenkie de Jong.
But the Red Devils may have to take a hit of up to £40m if they decide to cash in on a player they fought so hard to land from Leicester in 2019.
Maguire, who has two and a half years left on his deal, believes he proved in Qatar that he belongs at the top level.
After England’s quarter-final defeat by France, the 53-cap Three Lions star said: “I’ve played every game and I’m proud of my mentality to prove to myself again.
“I don’t need to prove to others but at the moment, I don’t look at myself.
“I look at the team and every time I put this shirt on, I want the team to do well.
“But I’d have much preferred to have had a bad game against France and gone through.”
ReutersMaguire shortly before flying home from the World Cup after defeat to France[/caption]