Erik ten Hag sends strong message to Harry Maguire as Manchester United exit looms

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag gestures during a recent friendly in Dublin (Getty Images)

Erik ten Hag has told Harry Maguire to go to West Ham if he is not confident enough to fight for his place at Old Trafford.

Manchester United have accepted a £30m bid from the Hammers for their former captain, who has dropped out of the team as Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez have become the first-choice centre-back partnership.

But while Ten Hag insisted he wants to keep Maguire as he hopes to have two players for every spot in the side, he believes the England international should go if he does not believe he can get back into the side.

“He has to fight for his place,” the United manager said. “He has the ability to be a top-class centre-back and he is the best for England so why shouldn’t he be the best for us? But he has to prove it. When he is not confident enough to fight then he has to go, then he has to make a decision, but I’m happy with him.

“We don’t have a squad with 11 players, and the last year proved definitely we need all the players. That means you need some high-level players who are maybe not starting but that can change so there is an internal competition, everyone has to fight for his place.

“Every player when they were good they will get their games but no one can play all the games and finally you find out what is the best team. In the squad now all the positions are double and every player has the perspective to fight for his place. You have to show with your contribution it’s the best team performance. It is up to the players if they have game time or less.”

Ten Hag also suggested he could keep Dean Henderson. United have been in talks with Nottingham Forest about the goalkeeper but with third-choice Tom Heaton out for several weeks, United may be reluctant to let Henderson leave.

Ten Hag added: “He was always in my mind so I think we have a strong keeper group with Onana, Henderson and Heaton.”


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