Maguire's Man Utd future yet bleaker after surprise Malacia star turn

FT Desk
  • FT Desk
  • 26 Sep 2022 16:28 BST
  • 3 min read
FT Desk 26 Sep 2022 16:28 BST 3 min read
Harry Maguire, Manchester United, 2021/22

Harry Maguire has already lost his starting spot to Lisandro Martinez at Manchester United, and now the club captain could have Tyrell Malacia blocking his path at left centre-back.

The right-footed Maguire has lined up on the left of central defence for most of the three seasons since he swapped Leicester for Man Utd in a then world record £80 million (€89.8m) fee for a defender.

But United's club captain has been dropped by new manager Erik ten Hag in recent weeks, with Martinez partnered by Raphael Varane as the Red Devils have gone on a four-match winning run in the Premier League - which has included victories over Liverpool and Arsenal.

Malacia, who was signed in a €17m deal from Feyenoord this summer, has featured at left-back throughout that period, but the 23-year-old was used at centre-back by the Netherlands on Sunday, and could be set to play that position for the Dutch at the World Cup this winter.

Malacia at centre-back

Louis vs Gaal's side who had already topped their UEFA Nations League Group A4, beat Belgium 1-0, and with Bruno Martins Indi injured, Malacia got the second half on the left of a back three after replacing Manchester City's Nathan Ake.

"Martins Indi won't make it," Van Gaal told ESPN of the AZ Alkmaar defender's chances of being in Qatar. "I also wanted to see Malacia in that place, so Ake was substituted for Belgium. Because Martins Indi is not going to make it, I have to look at other players who can play there."

Malacia has avareged three tackled, three clearance and two interceptions per 90 minutes since he got to Old Trafford, and Ten Hag is unlikely to change his winning formula for now. But Maguire will be uncomfortable knowing that Malacia could be a solution in his position should Martinez get injured.