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Ten Hag can’t promise Man. Utd’s Maguire game-time before World Cup

Manchester United defender Harry Maguire talks to manager Erik ten Hag (right). Photo: Trevor Collens/AFP

Erik ten Hag will not guarantee Harry Maguire extended playing time before the World Cup as the Manchester United defender tries to cement his place in England’s starting line-up.

Maguire looks sure to make England’s World Cup squad, but his lack of recent appearances for United makes it less certain he will start for Gareth Southgate’s team in Qatar.

The centre-back, a cornerstone of England’s run to the Euro 2020 final, has been out of favour at United for much of the season after his dismal form saw Ten Hag replace him with Raphael Varane.

Varane’s recent injury against Chelsea allowed Maguire to regain his place for United’s Premier League win against West Ham last weekend.

But Ten Hag picked Victor Lindelof for the Europa League victory away to Real Sociedad on Thursday.

Speaking ahead of United’s trip to Aston Villa on Sunday, Ten Hag refused to promise Maguire would get a run in the team before the World Cup.

“I have to think about it. I have to see Aston Villa, and it’s going to be difficult because we don’t know, it’s a new manager. So I have to have a look and analyse that team and then we have a choice,” Ten Hag told reporters on Friday.

“But, I just said, Licha (Martinez) and Victor, they played really well together over some more games but I think also Licha and Harry on Sunday against West Ham United: also a clean sheet and they also did really well.

“It’s a choice I make. When I choose one there is nothing against the other.”

Maguire could go to the World Cup with only one Premier League start in the last three months if he is on the bench for United’s matches against Aston Villa and Fulham before the tournament begins on November 20.

“We have to win as Manchester United, clear, and I hope that we perform well and that the England manager takes as many players as possible from Manchester United,” Ten Hag said of Maguire’s World Cup ambitions.

“They have a really good chance to win the World Cup because they have a really strong squad. So for me, they are one of the favourites for the World Cup, definitely.”

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