Erik ten Hag explains why Harry Maguire starts as Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez are dropped for Manchester United's trip to Leeds

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Harry Maguire 2022-23
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has picked captain Harry Maguire to start in defence alongside Luke Shaw against Leeds.
  • United captain back in starting XI
  • Hasn't featured much for Ten Hag this season
  • Starts in makeshift-looking back four

WHAT HAPPENED? Maguire was picked to start United's second game against Leeds in five days, starting a Premier League fixture for the first time since their 3-0 win over Bournemouth on January 3. Since then he's played just four minutes of Premier League football, coming off the bench to help see out victories over Manchester City and Crystal Palace. He starts at centre-back, while Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez have dropped to the bench.

WHY DID HE START? Ten Hag confirmed that the inclusion of Maguire is down to rotation and tactics, clearly feeling the centre-back has enough to combat the tricky Leeds frontline.

WHAT THEY SAID: Speaking to Sky Sports before the game, the Dutchman said: "Harry is just one for one. Rafa [Varane] has played a lot of games. Harry is a big part of our squad, he has played well, he is training very well so that's why."

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Furthermore, speaking to MUTV, he said: "[Shaw and Maguire] know each other, they know also the game and the rivalry between Leeds and Man United. They have to project it on the whole team. I expect leadership from them today, definitely."



Luke Shaw Arsenal Man Utd 2022-23

Erik ten Hag Manchester United 2022-23

THE BIGGER PICTURE: It's not only the inclusion of Maguire that is perhaps a shock to United fans. Jadon Sancho is in from the start of a Premier League fixture for the first time since the 1-1 draw away at Chelsea back on October 22 after netting the equaliser against Leeds on Wednesday as Ten Hag confirmed he's finally in the right shape to play regularly.

Elsewhere, Tyrell Malacia also comes in at left-back with Wout Weghorst keeping his place as the focal point of the attack.

WHAT'S NEXT FOR MAGUIRE: The onus is on him to lead the United defence against Leeds this afternoon aas the Red Devils look to secure their spot in the top four.