Ten Hag tells Maguire to 'prove' his quality as United sign Martinez

Erik ten Hag warns Harry Maguire that he is not guaranteed a starting spot at Manchester United despite retaining the captaincy… as he tells the England defender to ‘prove’ his quality after the £55m arrival of Lisandro Martinez

  • Harry Maguire has retained the Manchester United captaincy under Erik ten Hag
  • The Dutchman has described the England international as ‘really impressive’
  • But he also warned that Maguire will have to fight for his spot in the United team
  • The signing of Lisandro Martinez from Ajax increases competition for places
  • Ten Hag says he has no concerns over the Argentine defender only being 5ft 9in

Erik ten Hag has warned Harry Maguire that his decision to keep the England defender as Manchester United captain does not guarantee him a first-team place at Old Trafford.

Ten Hag has given Maguire a vote of confidence by letting him hold onto the armband, even though the 29-year-old struggled for form last season.

‘Harry is really impressive and I expect a lot from him,’ said Ten Hag. ‘I always see the captaincy as an issue that I dictate. 

Harry Maguire has retained the Manchester United captaincy under new boss Erik ten Hag

‘The team building for me is an important point and I always talk about a group of leaders. The captain is a really important one and I’m happy with him.’

However, Lisandro Martinez’s £55.3million move to United from Ajax will put more pressure on Maguire, with Raphael Varane and Victor Lindelof providing even more competition for places in central defence.

‘We have good centre-halves and Harry is one of them,’ added Ten Hag. ‘He can play on the left side and on the right because he is right-footed.

Ten Hag described Maguire as ‘really impressive’ and said he was ‘happy’ with him as skipper

The England international struggled for form last season and was dropped from the team

‘But there is also internal competition and that is what a club like Man United needs. You cannot win with 11 players. We need a squad, especially this season with so many games.

‘I think he is (a first-choice player). He’s proved it in the past but he has also to prove it in the present and in the future. I will support him everywhere I can. In the end, he has to do it by himself, and he has the qualities to do it.’

At 5ft 9in, Martinez is small for a centre-back, particularly one coming to English football for the first time. 

The arrival of Lisandro Martinez from Ajax will increase competition for places at Old Trafford

But Ten Hag said: ‘I think he’s not the tallest but he is quite good in the air. I feel comfortable with that. Of course, you need the right balance. He has good timing, that’s one of his capabilities.

‘He also brings a South American aggressiveness, control and spirit to the team. I think it will fit really good to Manchester United and the way we play.

‘I analysed United last year in the left part of the defence. He is left-footed and that is an advantage in possession and defending. We are bringing him in to not strengthen the squad, but the team.’

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