Erik ten Hag deals out-of-favour Harry Maguire ANOTHER blow by admitting stand-in centre-half Luke Shaw was 'FABULOUS' at Wolves and is a new option in future - with first-choice Lisandro Martinez also set to return

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Erik ten Hag deals out-of-favour Harry Maguire ANOTHER blow by admitting stand-in centre-half Luke Shaw was 'FABULOUS' at Wolves and is a new option in future - with first-choice Lisandro Martinez also set to return

  • Luke Shaw impressed playing at centre-back in United's 1-0 win over Wolves  
  • Erik ten Hag said he was 'fabulous' in the position and an option for the future  
  • It comes as yet another blow to Harry Maguire and his chances of playing 
  • Maguire's future is uncertain with Lisandro Martinez also set to come back 

Luke Shaw's emergence as a centre-back option for Manchester United has cast further doubt over Harry Maguire’s future at Old Trafford.

Shaw has played at the heart of United’s defence for the first time in the last two games against Wolves and Nottingham Forest as Erik ten Hag’s side kept clean sheets in both victories.

The United manager paired Shaw with Raphael Varane in the absence of Lisandro Martinez because Maguire and Victor Lindelof were ill, and he says the England left-back has seized his opportunity.

Luke Shaw has excelled as a centre-back for Man United since the Premier League returned

Luke Shaw has excelled as a centre-back for Man United since the Premier League returned

His form casts further doubt over the future of Harry Maguire

Luke Shaw (L) excelling at centre-back for Man United has cast further doubt over Harry Maguire's (R) future

Erik ten Hag said Shaw was 'fabulous' as he stood in central defence for the 1-0 win vs Wolves

Erik ten Hag said Shaw was 'fabulous' as he stood in central defence for the 1-0 win vs Wolves

Maguire was still fit enough to come on as a late substitute in both games, suggesting Ten Hag’s decision was also tactical.

Martinez is set to return to the United squad against Bournemouth at Old Trafford on Tuesday night following Argentina’s World Cup triumph, and will be the first-choice partner for Varane.

But asked if Shaw is now a long-term option to play in central defence, Ten Hag replied: ‘Of course. You have your ideas and a plan, but sometimes it changes by circumstances like the illnesses for Harry and Victor.

‘Normally, they start in the games we have just played, but Casemiro did well as a centre-half (in the Carabao Cup against Burnley) and then Luke Shaw did very well against Nottingham Forest.

Ten Hag said Maguire would have played a part in United's last two games had he not been ill

Ten Hag said Maguire would have played a part in United's last two games had he not been ill

‘We have seen the last two games he has been fabulous. He has impressed but, of course, we also know he is really good as a left full-back. It’s an extra option and that’s always good for a team.

‘If you look at the game plan and the way we had to approach Wolves, and I thought it was the best match with Rapha and Luke. Especially we knew the speed of Wolves from the right side and we could cover that.’

Maguire faces more competition than ever to regain a first-team place at United. Varane, Martinez and Lindelof are already ahead of the England defender in the pecking order, and Shaw would now appear to be another obstacle for the 29-year-old.

United face a big decision over their captain in the summer when he will still have two years left on his £190,000-a-week contract.

Given Maguire’s age and salary, United are unlikely to recoup even half the £80million paid to Leicester City for him in the summer of 2019.

But, with Lisandro Martinez coming back, Maguire's opportunities will be even less frequent

But, with Lisandro Martinez coming back, Maguire's opportunities will be even less frequent 

It’s unlikely that he will leave Old Trafford in the January transfer window due to the lack of options available and the fact that Ten Hag still needs depth in his squad.

But Maguire needs to be more than a squad player at this stage of his career, and former United and England defender Rio Ferdinand believes he should be looking to leave.

‘It raised eyebrows when you saw Lindelof and Maguire on the bench,’ said Ferdinand. ‘It shows what Ten Hag thinks of those two guys!

‘If I'm Harry Maguire, I'm looking for a new club right now. He's faultless for England. At Man United, it hasn't worked out for him.

‘This new manager is showing him he's not going to be one of the top two centre-backs. I'd be telling my agent to go and find me a new club where I can play regularly and enjoy my football.’

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