Monday 23 September 2019

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hands Harry Maguire the ultimate compliment ahead of his reunion with Leicester

Harry Maguire
Harry Maguire
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Harry Maguire is emerging as a future club captain after the England centre-back made a huge impression on and off the pitch since his £80m move from Leicester last month.

Maguire has impressed in a United side that has struggled to click into top gear over the first month of the season, with Solskjaer offering words of praise for his defensive leader ahead of Saturday's Premier League game against his former club.

"I think he's been brilliant. He's come into the dressing room and has been a leader," said Solskjaer of Maguire.

"He's also a leader on the pitch and I'm sure he's looking forward to playing against his old team. Now he's here he's going to be a big part of the future of this club.

"We've watched him enough to know he's the guy we wanted and that's why we spent the money we did on him. He's definitely a character and personality that can be captain of a big club.

"In the dressing room, he's a leader both by performances, stature and behaviour. He's a character you'd like to follow. Some are technical leaders, some are leaders by voice, he's got the lot."

United legend Paul Scholes suggested earlier this week that the current team would not be realistic challengers for the Premier League title over the next couple of years and while Solskjaer did not echo those sentiments, he suggested time would be needed to close the gap on Liverpool and Manchester City.

"Paul knows what it is to be a Man United player and looking at the difference between us and City and Liverpool last year you don't expect us to challenge straight away," said the United boss.

"He can see things are going in the right direction, I'm sure, and we feel we're on the right track."

Solskjaer went on to urge his second-string players to shine after confirming Luke Shaw, Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial will be among the absentees for Saturday's Premier League game against Leicester, with doubts over the fitness of Aaron Wan-Bissaka (back) and Jesse Lingard (illness).

After an indifferent start to the season that included a defeat in their last game at Old Trafford against Crystal Palace, unbeaten Leicester will offer up a stern challenge for United as the Premier League returns this weekend.

Yet Solskjaer was keen to play down the significance of his injury concerns, as he stressed he has the back-up talent needed to shine against Brendan Rodgers' Foxes.

"The treatment room's been busy and it still is," he concluded. "So we don't really know who's going to be available.

"Pogba won't be fit unless he's had a miraculous recovery overnight from yesterday to today or tonight to tomorrow, he's not been ready to do 100 per-cent training.

"We hope more can be ready for West Ham next week and Paul and Anthony (Martial) are in that category. I think they'll be ready for then and can't say more than that really."

"You've got players who can come in with loads of experience, Juan (Mata), Nemanja (Matic) and Ash (Young) who didn't start the first game and have got to step up, so the average age might go up."

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