Man United FC

Erik ten Hag solves Man Utd captaincy problem after ditching Harry Maguire

Erik ten Hag left Harry Maguire out of Manchester United’s 2-1 win over Liverpool on Monday night, but he has already stated how he would manage the club leadership.

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Erik ten Hag launched his Manchester United reign in grand style on Monday night, defeating Liverpool for the third time.

However, as impressive as United were in recording a priceless victory over their arch-rivals, there were a handful of notable caveats. Ten Hag decided to rest both club captain Harry Maguire and United’s talisman, Cristiano Ronaldo, for the crucial match – and the onus is now on the Dutchman to decide what happens next for two of Old Trafford’s greatest names.

Maguire now appears destined to be United’s odd man out at the back after Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane looked brilliant against one of the Premier League’s most potent sides.

If that happens in the coming weeks, Ten Hag’s position as captain would undoubtedly become unsustainable, but he has already intimated that he has devised a backup plan.

Ten Hag stated his intention to have a set of leaders rather than relying on any man after it was confirmed that Maguire would maintain the armband despite his troubles.

Speaking back in July, he said: “I always see the captaincy as an issue that I dictate. Team building is crucial to me, and I constantly refer to a group of leaders. The captain is quite essential to me, and I am pleased with him.”

Ten Hag handed the armband to Bruno Fernandes for the Red Devils’ 2-1 triumph over Liverpool after emphasizing the necessity of other players stepping up to lead.

Fernandes repaid Ten Hag’s faith with his best performance in a long time against United’s archrivals, while Varane was also singled out for his leadership talents after the game.

He stated to Sky Sports: “I believe [Fernandes] accepted responsibility and demonstrated leadership on the field alongside Rapha Varane. They make a significant difference, but that is what we must bring, not just the two; we require additional leaders. When you want a winning team, you need more leaders and the passion that we showed today.”

In yet another boost for Ten Hag, the former Ajax manager believes Casemiro is capable of taking on a leadership role at the club while also adding much-needed savvy to the Manchester United dressing room.

The Red Devils’ latest £60 million signing, who was revealed to fans ahead of Monday night’s game, is a vastly experienced figure who has played a key role in a Real Madrid club that has been practically synonymous with success over the last decade.

“He’s won so many awards in his career,” Ten Hag stated following the game. “He knows how to win games and, finally, how to win trophies. We now have more players who have already won numerous trophies in their careers. That must serve as a model for the rest of the club so that they know and understand how to win games.”

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