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Erik ten Hag "very pleased" 31-year-old stayed at Manchester United last summer

Ten Hag
© Reuters
Manchester United head coach Erik ten Hag says that he is "very pleased" the club kept hold of Harry Maguire last summer.

Manchester United head coach Erik ten Hag has said that he is "very pleased" the club kept hold of Harry Maguire last summer amid interest from West Ham United.

The England international was heavily linked with a switch away from Old Trafford during last summer's transfer window, with West Ham believed to have had a bid accepted for him.

Maguire decided to stay and fight for his spot with Man United, though, and the 31-year-old, despite some injury problems, has been a regular this season, featuring on 27 occasions in all competitions.

The former Sheffield United youngster is also currently the club's only fit senior centre-back, with Raphael Varane, Victor Lindelof, Lisandro Martinez and Jonny Evans all out through injury.

Ten Hag has spoken about the importance of Maguire at this moment in time, although there remains speculation surrounding his long-term future with the club.

Manchester United's Harry Maguire in action with Newcastle United's Anthony Gordon and Joe Willock on November 1, 2023© Reuters

"You have to see it in that perspective. We were always happy with Harry Maguire but he wants to play. He's a great leader, he's a very good defender, very comfortable on the ball," Ten Hag told reporters.

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

Maguire, who has made 19 Premier League appearances this season, is again set to be joined by 19-year-old Willy Kambwala in the middle of the defence against Bournemouth on Saturday.

Marcus Rashford should be fit despite an injury scare, but Scott McTominay is a major doubt, while Tyrell Malacia, Luke Shaw and Anthony Martial are absent alongside Varane, Lindelof, Martinez and Evans.

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag and football director John Murtough in the stands on May 22, 2022© Reuters

Ten Hag addresses Murtough's departure

Ten Hag was also asked about John Murtough on Friday, with the club announcing earlier this week that he would be standing down from his role as football director.

"You mention something there for the new season, I think it's very important that the new ownership is working on this, they have to replace his function to go into a new season," Ten Hag added.

"For the moment, of course, I miss his support, the surround support, you miss that. But he moved on, he has made choices. We worked very good together. I say thank you to John and wish him all the best for the future.

"No [it won't affect plans]. For me, as I said previously, I work with the new ownership very good, closely together. It will not change, it doesn't have an impact on the way I can work here. The conditions were perfect, they are still perfect. I am happy with that but we want to set the right conditions to be successful."

Man United will be bidding to return to winning ways when they head to Bournemouth on Saturday before taking on Coventry City in the semi-finals of the FA Cup next weekend.

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