Harry Maguire sends message to Erik ten Hag over his Manchester United future

The centre-back started in the Red Devils’ 3-1 win over the Royals in the fourth round of the FA Cup at Old Trafford, with Casemiro scoring twice and Fred netting the third.

It was not a taxing night for Maguire at the back, especially as Reading striker Andy Carroll was sent off in the second half, although the Championship side did gate a consolation late on.

The England international recognises that there is plenty of competition for places in the middle of defence, with Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez and Victor Lindelof all in the squad, but he says he does not want to accept a role as back-up to any of those players.

‘I’m a player, 29-years-old, and I haven’t really been in this position in my career so it’s a position that I don’t want to get used to, but it’s part of the parcel of football,’ said the former Leicester man.

‘I’m working hard everyday, I’m pushing, I’m training well, and when my chance comes I need to take it.

‘We know at this club we need competition for places, we have some top centre-backs at this club so I think we’re all in good from now until the end of the season.’

On his own performance, Maguire said: ‘I feel like I’ve looked after myself – I think it’s two-and-a-half weeks since my last start – so I’ve been working hard in training.

‘The lads who’ve been playing have been doing well so when I get the opportunity I need to take it and make sure we win. It was nice to be out there helping the lads and I’m ready when my chance comes.’

Before the match, Erik ten Hag praised how Maguire had been training as he pushed for a return to the first team, having not started since a League Cup win over Charlton on 10 January.

‘He’s training very well, he’s training very dominant and that’s what I want to see from him as a leader like he is, he’s the captain, so I have big expectations of him today,’ said the Dutchman.

‘It’s not just about Harry, everyone has to match those expectations. We want to achieve this season so we need a squad, so every player needs to give all they have.’

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