Erik: This is a different Harry Maguire
Erik ten Hag believes Harry Maguire is a player transformed from when he first took charge of Manchester United last summer.
The club captain helped the Reds to a 13th clean sheet of the Premier League season so far, in our Easter weekend win over Everton.
But it was not just the marshalling at the back of Maguire and co that caught the eye, as the defensive line all played their part in a strong attacking display.
Our no.5 in particular displayed a fine range of passing in the 2-0 win, with a clever ball out from defence in the early stages creating a one-on-one chance for Marcus Rashford. Maguire's ability to switch the play from right to left often proved to be a key feature of our game against the Toffees.
Watch Erik's post-Everton press conference
Press conference | Erik is asked about Rashford's injury, Fernandes's position + top four after the win over Everton...
It was a display that led to the manager being asked about his captain’s influence in his post-match press conference, and Ten Hag was emphatic in his praise for our no.5, who replaced Raphael Varane in the side to face Everton.
"It is not that easy for Harry [to be rotated with the other centre-backs]," Erik confessed as he spoke to reporters at Old Trafford.
"And then if you then deliver the performance he did today, really well done, in and out of possession, dominating and dictating.
"That is my demand on him and he transferred it to the pitch."
The boss feels there has been improvement in Maguire’s game of late, and he described the qualities that the England international brings to our team.
"I think this is a different Harry Maguire [to] what I have seen in the first weeks, months," he continued.
"He’s taken so much initiative, dominating his opponent, stepping in, bringing passes. So a really great performance from Harry."
United have now only conceded 12 times at Old Trafford in our last 24 games at the Theatre of Dreams, and that is in no small part down to the strong options we have available at the back, especially with the Reds remaining in contention on all fronts.
It was a 25th outing of the campaign for Harry yesterday, who is now just six games away from registering 175 appearances for the club.