Ole Gunnar Solskjaer backs Harry Maguire to ‘bounce back’ from early-season troubles for Man United and England… but says his captain may not play in Saturday’s trip to Newcastle
- Harry Maguire was sent off during England’s 1-0 defeat by Denmark this week
- It continued a poor start to the season for the Manchester United captain
- His manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has backed the defender to recover his form
- But Maguire may not be fit enough to play for United at Newcastle on Saturday
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists Harry Maguire won’t hide from criticism and wants to play for Manchester United at Newcastle on Saturday – if he is fit.
The beleaguered United captain picked up a knock before he was sent off in England’s defeat by Denmark on Wednesday and is being assessed ahead of the clash at St James’ Park.
Maguire’s red card at Wembley followed his arrest on holiday in Greece in August and a series of errors that have contributed to United losing two of their first three Premier League games.
Harry Maguire looks dismayed after being shown a red card during England’s loss to Denmark
Little has gone right for Manchester United’s captain during the early part of the season
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has backed Maguire to ‘bounce back’ from his troubles
Man United fixtures
Premier League unless stated
Saturday Newcastle United (A)
Tuesday Paris Saint-Germain (A) Champions League group stage
October 24 Chelsea (H)
October 28 RB Leipzig (H) Champions League group stage
November 1 Arsenal (H)
November 4 Istanbul Basaksehir (A) Champions League group stage
Solskjaer confirmed the Sportsmail story from Friday that Maguire doesn’t want to be taken out of the firing line – and said he has never considered dropping his under-fire skipper.
Former United defender Rio Ferdinand believes Maguire would benefit from a break, but Solskjaer backed the 27-year-old to recover from his alarming slump in form.
‘He’s adamant he’s ready to play,’ said the United manager. ‘He doesn’t want to hide behind a red card or a bad performance — he wants to go out there and prove himself. I don’t doubt his resilience in that respect. He’s very professional so he wants to put himself up for selection.
‘Then it’s up to me and if I want to take him out of the firing line. I haven’t considered that without him coming to knock on my door. I speak to him regularly and he’s been very positive.
‘You speak to individuals. You sit down and look them in the eye and see where we go from here.
‘Harry is a leader, he’s a captain for us and it is still early on in the season. He missed the first internationals, he’s not had the pre-season he had last season, but I’m sure he’ll bounce back.
Maguire and United will aim to respond after their 6-1 thrashing by Tottenham last time out
‘He’s got great resilience and great personality. I know he wants to work his way out of the last couple of games when he’s been criticised. I just hope he can play because he picked up that knock just before the red card. I’m not sure if he’s going to be available yet.’
Maguire’s problems have been the focal point of a poor start to the season for United who have lost two of their opening three Premier League games – including a crushing 6-1 defeat at home to Tottenham last time out.
Solskjaer revealed that he has been in touch with his players on international duty and challenged them to bounce back at Newcastle.
‘We know we’ve started the season badly and that game (Tottenham) ended really badly,’ he said. ‘We’ve now had two weeks to think about it, work on it with the others who were here, and the ones on internationals had positive and negative experiences.
‘We’ve been in touch with the ones that have been away. It’s one of those things you have to get over as soon as you can.
Bruno Fernandes rubbished talk of a disagreement with Solskjaer after being taken off during the 6-1 defeat to Tottenham
‘We know any little chance from the outside wants to create division. Bruno Fernandes spoke well the other day. We are united and have to stay together, we can’t listen to everyone outside.
‘Bruno has lost two league games and he came here in February. It’s been two in quick succession, he’s not used to losing league games but welcome to Man United, this is what happens.
‘They are going to try and create a division between us but it’s not going to happen. This is a group that wants to work together and stick together.’
On Newcastle, he added: ‘We need a response as we always do after we lose a game. You want to win the next one.
‘We want to try and dominate the game. The result is very important, but we want to see positive body language and mindset. You don’t get anywhere being negative. Go out there go for the win and see players who want to work for the points.’