Erik ten Hag has hinted that Harry Maguire may leave Manchester United this summer if the defender decides he is not happy with a lack of playing time.
The club captain played only 16 Premier League games this season and has been culpable of a number of high-profile errors, most recently in last month’s Europa League exit to Sevilla.
Ten Hag has consistently praised the influence of the 30-year-old – who joined in 2018 from Leicester for £80million, a world-record fee for a defender, and is under contract until 2025 – around Old Trafford, even when he has endured long spells out of the team.
When fit, Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane have been the preferred central-defensive partnership in the former Ajax boss’s first campaign, with Luke Shaw sometimes filling in, as the team racked up 17 top-flight clean sheets – the most of any side in the division.
Now the manager has made the strongest suggestion yet that Maguire’s time at United could be coming to an end.
“No-one would be happy with this situation,” Ten Hag said in an interview with The Times. “He is not as well. He trains always on best levels, so with 100 per cent effort.
“So he handles that situation well and he’s in that manner and in his captaincy he’s important for the squad.
“But he has high competition there (at centre-back) with Raphael Varane, who’s fantastic.”
He added: “Let’s say I’m happy he’s here and when we needed him he did his job. But it’s also a decision he has to make.”