Maguire: I need to take my chance

Sunday 29 January 2023 00:25

Manchester United captain Harry Maguire says he is determined to fight for his place in Erik ten Hag's starting XI, following the Reds' 3-1 victory over Reading in the FA Cup fifth round.

The United captain started alongside Victor Lindelof at the heart of our defence for the first time since we faced Charlton Athletic in the Carabao Cup quarter-final on 10 January.

Since then, competition for places for the centre-back position has been fierce with Lindelof, Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez, Luke Shaw and Casemiro all playing there on different occasions since the season's restart after the 2022 World Cup.

Maguire played the full 90 minutes against the Royals on Saturday, and conceding a late goal, looked assured and resilient alongside Victor, keeping Reading attackers Andy Carroll and Lucas Joao at bay.

Following the match, Maguire issued praise for his fellow centre-backs and says he relishes the competition for places in the United defence.

Maguire: It's a Brazilian United! Video

Maguire: It's a Brazilian United!

Harry Maguire is thrilled Casemiro and Fred's goals sealed our Emirates FA Cup win over Reading...

"I am a player, 29 years old, I haven’t been in this position in my career," he explained in an interview with ITV Sport. "It is a position I do not want to get used to. But it is part and parcel in football and I have been working hard every day. I am pushing, I am training well. And when my chance comes, I need to take it.

"We know at this club we need competition for places, we have some top centre-backs at this club. So, I think we are all going to be needed from now until the end of the season.

"I feel like I have looked after myself. I think it has been two-and-a-half weeks since my last start. I have been working hard in training. The lads who have been playing have done really well. So when I get the opportunity, I need to take it and make sure we win. It was nice to be out there and helping the lads and I am ready when my chance comes."

As well as discussing the defence, Harry applauded the contribution of Brazilian midfielder Casemiro, who struck twice against Reading to put United in the driving seat.

"He has been what he has been brought in to do, he is a phenomenal player," he said. "He has been [phenomenal] throughout his career.

"You don’t win what he has won throughout his career without being a top player. He has improved the team, he has improved the morale, he has improved the performance and it is great to have him."