Wednesday, February 28News That Matters

Erik ten Hag decides next Man Utd captain after private conversation behind scenes

Bruno Fernandes may have already been told by Erik ten Hag he will replace Harry Maguire as captain on a permanent basis, that’s according to Dwight Yorke.

Maguire was dropped from the United starting lineup by Erik ten Hag after the season opening defeats to Brighton and Brentford, with Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane now the manager’s first-choice pairing.

His chances of forcing his way back into the team were hampered by a hamstring injury suffered on international duty with England with the defender unavailable for United’s last seven matches.

As a result of Maguire’s absence in the squad, both enforced and a result of being dropped, Fernandes has captained the team.

While the attacking midfielder’s goal return has come under scrutiny, ten Hag has been full of praise for his ‘massive role’ in the team.

Yorke, part of United’s infamous Treble-winning side, believes Fernandes is doing well with the responsibility and suggests conversations over him taking the armband permanently have already taken place.

He told Lord Ping: ‘Before he was the stand-in captain, which wasn’t a problem. I think with the Maguire scenario, looking from the outside in at the club without knowing all the details, I think he’s been told he’s going to be the captain going forward.

‘When a manager tells you something like that, then that weight comes off. So now he’s thinking, ‘right, this is my new role’.

‘That clarity is good for the team and enables him to go out and do what he needs to do.

‘Obviously, I wouldn’t expect this to be an official announcement this season with Maguire at the club, but perhaps the manager has had a word with him and that has given him the confidence he needed as a player.’

Maguire is now back in training this week, a timely boost for ten Hag who will be without Varane for the run of fixtures leading up to the World Cup break.

The France international left Stamford Bridge in tears after picking up a hamstring injury in the draw with Chelsea on Saturday.

Reports suggest however the defender still stands a chance of recovering in time for France’s campaign in Qatar.

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