Harry Maguire says he won’t sit on Manchester United bench and play only once a month forever

Harry Maguire admits he and Manchester United will have to ‘discuss some things’ if he continues to only play once a month.

The England centre-back is concerned that his playing time has fallen down the pecking order at Old Trafford and he has lost the captaincy.

Maguire, 30, was linked with a summer move to West Ham, although this did not materialize and he remains determined to regain his place under Erik ten Hag.

However, with Euro 2024 on the horizon, Maguire admitted his lack of opportunities could become a problem sooner rather than later.

“Yes, of course,” he said ahead of England’s matches against Australia and Italy. “I mean, I’m not going to sit here all my life and play once a month and if this continues I’m sure myself and the club will sit down and discuss some things.

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Harry Maguire says ‘regular playing time is important’ but West Ham never reached agreement with Manchester United to sign him this summer

“But honestly at the moment I’m fully focused on two games for England, two big games.

“Then my full focus is on fighting and trying to get my place back at Manchester United and help the team climb the league ladder to where it should be.”

“I don’t play close enough”

Gareth Southgate has been a staunch supporter of the centre-back throughout his ups and downs, but admitted concerns over his level of involvement, which Maguire is determined to improve.

“I believe in my abilities and what I have done in my career, as any player should,” Maguire said.

“Every player who is on the bench should believe that they should start, otherwise they would not be playing at a high level. I am no different.

Man Utd defender Harry Maguire struggled for minutes
Man Utd defender Harry Maguire struggled for minutes

“Look, it’s been difficult. I want to play matches. I want to feel important for the club and I want to feel important for the rest of the team.

“At the moment I haven’t played as much as I would like. That’s the main thing.

“I just have to make sure I’m ready to take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves.”

Maguire pleased with performance

Maguire retained his England place despite struggling to force his way into the Ten Hag lineup, making his first Premier League start of the campaign in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Brentford.

“It’s not up to me to decide whether I start the next game or not,” said the defender, who provided the assist on Scott McTominay’s winning goal. “I’m not sure. I’m sure in a few weeks I’ll go back and find out.

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“Look, if you look at my last 15 to 20 starts for club and country, I’d be happy to sit here and say, ‘I’m really happy with my performances’.

“My record under this manager speaks for itself. I haven’t started as many games as I would like, but my winning percentage when I have played is ridiculously high.

“And of course there are times where I can do more and times where I can improve and help the team, but yeah, I just want to help the team.

“I want to help the team get out of this position we are in right now and hopefully we can do that in the coming weeks.”

‘I believe in myself’

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Maguire benefited from a series of defensive absences as he made just his ninth Premier League start since Ten Hag’s arrival.

The Dutchman has always spoken positively about the defender in public, saying in August that he “has the capabilities to be a top-class central defender” and that he must “fight for his place”.

“I can only do what I have done since I came into the team, bringing in positive performances,” Maguire said.

“I started two games this season and came on in a few coming off the bench, but yes, I continue to work hard in training.

“The manager can only watch training and make his decision from training and matches when I have the opportunity to play.

“I’m going to keep working hard, I’m going to keep pushing. I have great confidence in myself.”

Maguire: West Ham transfer was never accepted

Maguire on possible move to West Ham: ‘The actual opportunity to go to West Ham wasn’t really agreed between the two clubs and myself, so it wasn’t just my chance to say yes and I’m going there.

“The real opportunity wasn’t there because we didn’t go far enough with it.

“West Ham is a huge club, but my focus is always on Manchester United. I want to fight for my place, but, of course, playing time is really important to me.”