Mon. Sep 28th, 2020

Man Utd

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Why Harry Maguire started ahead of Teden Mengi for Manchester United

2 min read

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Manchester United captain Harry Maguire’s sharpness is maintained through regular playing time.

Maguire was a surprise inclusion in the side which took on LASK Linz in the Europa League round-of-16 second leg, with United 5-0 up on aggregate as Solskjaer made nine changes.

Brandon Williams and Maguire were the only players retained from the Premier League win over Leicester last month and Maguire has played every minute of United’s 12 games since the season restarted in June. The 27-year-old became the first outfield United player since Gary Pallister to start every league match and Maguire made his 53rd start of the campaign against LASK.

Under-18 captain Teden Mengi emerged late on for his debut and Maguire was partnered by Eric Bailly as Victor Lindelof was absent from the squad, Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe are injured, Chris Smalling ineligible for registration and Marcos Rojo unavailable in Argentina.

“Harry, first of all, is desperate to play,” Solskjaer stressed. “He’s the captain, there’s a reason why he’s the captain he always wants to play and is ready to play.

“He’s missed one or two games this season through illness and I think he gets sharper and sharper the more he plays. He’ll get his time off after this tournament, so no worries about that.”

Mengi became the eighth academy graduate to debut for the first-team this term and the last time United managed that number in a single season was in 1952-53.

“It’s a great feeling. I’d like to thank everyone around me. My family, my teammates and everyone in the first-team made it very easy for me,” Mengi told MUTV.

“The academy staff as well as the manager who gave me the opportunity. It’s just the start. It’s down to myself to keep kicking on but I’m very happy with it.

“Of course, everyone dreams of this moment. It’s everyone’s dream to represent the biggest club in the world. Luckily enough, I got the chance today and I’m really chuffed with it.

“Everyone was telling me before the game and during half-time to be ready and that’s what I did. Everyone was saying: ‘Come on Teden, this is your moment now’.

“It’s a big shame really because my mum pestered me all the time. She said: ‘If you ever make your debut at Old Trafford, I’ll be there watching you’. It’s a shame she couldn’t be here but it’s the moment of my life. But it’s time to kick on.”

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