Erik ten Hag in profile as Man Utd 'open talks' with Ajax boss
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At the current moment in time, there’s plenty of uncertainty at Manchester United. But things could be about to become clearer, with Erik ten Hag appearing to be edging close to landing the manager’s job at Old Trafford. Should he take over, the club’s captaincy is certainly a matter he’ll need to address.
Publicly, United have been backing Maguire.
The England international was booed by fans at Wembley for the 3-0 win over Ivory Coast last week and Ralf Rangnick, when quizzed on the matter on Friday, stuck by his man.
“(Spoken?) Not yet, but I speak regularly since I’m here he knows my position towards him, he’s been a very valuable player for the team and the club, the captain,” he said.
“I didn’t understand what happened at Wembley, it won’t happen in our stadium with the Red Army.
“He’s been playing well for Manchester United and England in the last couple of years. Gareth Southgate said something after the game and Harry Kane.
“I didn’t watch the game but I heard what had happened after they announced the starting line up. Difficult to understand.”
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However, the brutal fact of the matter is that Maguire, as captain, hasn’t been anywhere near good enough this season.
Firstly, as a player.
When United signed Maguire for £80million back in the summer transfer window of 2019, it wasn’t for his leadership skills. Instead, they believed his mere presence would guarantee brighter times ahead.
For the most part, they’ve been right. Maguire was integral under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer last term, bouncing back after getting himself into trouble in Greece during the summer.
Had he been fit for the Europa League final, the former Leicester star may very well have skippered his side to glory.
Without him, Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly looked shaky. United ended up losing on penalties and Maguire could, feasibly, have stepped up in the dramatic penalty shootout.
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As a captain, Maguire hasn’t been good enough this term either.
His performances have gone from bad to worse. He was dire in both legs of their Champions League clash with Atletico Madrid, failing to lead from the front.
And when the chips have been down, it’s often Bruno Fernandes and David De Gea who have fronted up to the media instead.
With that being the case, it’s therefore feasible a new manager will decide to change things up by installing somebody else in the role.
And all signs are presently pointing to that being Ten Hag.
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The Ajax boss was recently interviewed for the post of manager and didn’t exactly shut down talk of a move away from Ajax when quizzed on his future by another publication.
Speaking to Sport1, he said: “Everyone knows each other in the industry.
“There are always talks with representatives from other clubs, that’s normal. Manchester United is a great club with great fans.
“But I can only repeat myself: My full focus is completely on Ajax! We are already planning for the new season.”
United have several players who may take the captaincy from Maguire should Ten Hag decide to make a change.
Cristiano Ronaldo would be the favourite to take over, though the Portugal international could potentially quit if they fail to secure Champions League qualification.
Bruno Fernandes would be another, especially after committing himself to a new contract.
And it’s worth noting that Alex Telles and Donny van de Beek wore the armband on occasions during their spells at Porto and Ajax respectively.
Maguire, for now, has Rangnick’s backing.
But a new manager means a new start and Ten Hag, who has a ruthless streak about him, may choose to tinker to coax the best from Maguire once again.
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