“He surprised us all, he deserves to start”-Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag is being proven wrong by £15m blessing in disguise

Erik ten Hag will be delighted to have been proven wrong by a former Manchester United outcast.

Harry Maguire is proving Erik ten Hag wrong after the Manchester United defender continued his unlikely resurgence in Saturday’s 2-1 win against Sheffield United. Maguire dug his heels in over a summer transfer away from Old Trafford, and his self-belief has started to pay off, starting back-to-back games.

Maguire seemed destined for a United departure during the summer transfer window, having slipped to fourth in Ten Hag’s pecking order last season.

The Dutchman even opted for Luke Shaw at central defence over Maguire on a handful of occasions, indicating he was unconvinced by the latter.He was ready to sanction the 30-year-old’s exit, and United reportedly accepted a £30million bid from West Ham United in August.But The Sun claim the transfer fell through due to Maguire’s demand for a compensation package worth £15m to cover the salary he was owed for the remainder of his contract, expiring in 2025.

At the start of the season, Ten Hag continued to overlook his former captain – who he replaced with Bruno Fernandes in the summer – handing him just 26 minutes off the bench in United’s opening seven games.

But injuries to Lisandro Martinez, Raphael Varane and all three of United’s left-backs have made defensive options scarce, opening the door for Maguire’s resurgence.The England international shone in the wins against Brentford and Sheffield United. He is expected to retain his place in Tuesday’s must-win Champions League clash with FC Copenhagen at Old Trafford.

After Saturday’s narrow win at Bramall Lane, Ten Hag heaped praise on Maguire, who has positively contributed defensively and offensively.

I have to say to Harry [Maguire] – Jonny [Evans] as well – but Harry, he’s playing like we want him to play,” Ten Hag explained after full-time.

“Very proactive out of possession, dominating his opponent, stepping in when necessary, reading the game, good covering.”But also in possession, very proactive, stepping in, delivering good passing, vertical passing, good switches. I’m happy with his performance.”Whether Maguire has a long-term future at Old Trafford remains to be seen, with Ten Hag reportedly keen to add at least one new centre-back to his squad as early as January.But he is deservedly being commended for his professionalism and character after coming under unprecedented scrutiny while representing his club and country.

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