Manchester United Manager Erik ten Hag Challenges Harry Maguire to Earn Starting Spot Amid West Ham Transfer Speculation

Manchester United’s manager, Erik ten Hag, has asserted that Harry Maguire must demonstrate his worthiness for a starting position as rumors of a potential move to West Ham United continue to swirl. Maguire faced a spell on the sidelines under Ten Hag’s stewardship last season, with the manager favoring Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez as his primary central defensive pairing. The English defender found himself further down the pecking order, with Victor Lindelof and Luke Shaw receiving playing time ahead of him. His situation took a further downturn this summer as he was stripped of the club captaincy.

While maintaining that every member of the squad is essential, Ten Hag has issued a direct challenge to Maguire, urging him to compete for a place in the starting lineup if he possesses the determination to do so. However, as the manager has not indicated any alteration to his preferred center-back partnership, the prospects of Maguire’s move to West Ham’s London Stadium appear poised for confirmation in the coming week.

Ahead of the forthcoming clash against Wolves, Ten Hag addressed the press, stating, “For Harry, he has to fight for his place. He has the ability to be a top-class center-back; he is the best for England, so why shouldn’t he be the best for us?”

“However, he has to prove it. If he lacks the self-assuredness to take up that challenge, he must make the decision. But I am content with him,” Ten Hag added.

Emphasizing the necessity of a robust squad, the manager highlighted the internal competition among players and the requirement for each individual to compete for their spot. The competitive environment within the squad allows for a flexible and adaptable approach based on performances.

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The managerial stance coincides with a report from The Telegraph, indicating that West Ham remains optimistic about finalizing a deal for Maguire. A fee has already been agreed upon, believed to be in the vicinity of £30 million. However, discussions regarding personal terms are still ongoing, with Maguire previously expressing reservations about joining West Ham. The impending decisions taken by both Maguire and Ten Hag could significantly shape the landscape of Manchester United’s defensive lineup and the English center-back’s future in the Premier League.

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