“Captain by example”: Eric ten Hag names United player who could become next club’s skipper

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“Captain by example”: Eric ten Hag names United player who could become next club’s skipper

Erik ten hag has warned that Harry Maguire’s place in the  Manchester United  team is not guaranteed.

Maguire was omitted from Manchester United’s match against Liverpool on Monday, a game in which Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez excelled at centre back.

This prompted a number of questions during the press conference ahead of today’s Premier League match against Southampton about the manager’s future plans for Maguire.

“That doesn’t mean when you are captain that you are established to play always, especially not when you also have Varane in your squad,” Ten Hag explained, before going on to wax lyrical about the Frenchman.

“First, we have options and … Varane, his stature is immense. In pre-season, we had to build his physicality, so it was a bit of a slower start, and he was fit in the first games but in the first period of the pre-season, he wasn’t always, so we’re happy we built him in that way.

“You see that when the team needed him, he was really there and his profile, his stature, what he won in the past shows he can really contribute to this team.

“For the team, there is competition, and you need it, we have to cover so many games and we can do that in several constructions, see from game to game what we need. That can be a construction from Liverpool, but also in the second half at Brentford, we played with Varane and Maguire in the centre, so there are many options.

“I forget now about injuries, Victor Lindelof did really well in pre-season so I am happy he will be back on Sunday in the squad, so we will have another option. Internally, we have competition and that’s good and I think top teams need that.”

Ten Hag stated for the second time this week that he would rotate his defence, but he has recently emphasised the abilities of Varane and Lisandro Martinez rather than Maguire.

When MUTV asked the Dutchman about referring to Lisandro as a warrior, he replied:

“It’s great, so that’s the way he is.

“So others get stimulated by it.

“And not everyone is the same … but we want that, we want a fighting team.”

Both interviews give the impression that Varane and Lisandro will be the boss’s first choice partnership, which begs the question of captaincy.

The journalist asked “If Bruno, who is going to play most games, has the armband, does a point come where you have to say that he is the captain because he is playing most games?”

“I’m not looking so far, we are only one game, we have a little group,” Ten Hag replied.

“Harry quite clearly, Bruno is one of them and I think Bruno did quite well in his role with the captaincy, he was captain by example.

“He brings so much energy to the team, in and out of possession, so I was really happy with his role and performance.”

This is already a departure from the beginning of the season, when the manager stated that Maguire is the captain and there is no need to change it. 

His words clearly indicate that the captaincy is in a transitional phase in which he is allowing it to be fluid before making a firm decision later on.

“Captain by example”: Eric ten Hag names United player who could become next club’s skipper

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