Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Erik ten Hag names Tom Heaton as Manchester United captain for friendly as Harry Maguire starts

Harry Maguire has been named in the starting XI against Athletic Bilbao but he has not been given the captain’s armband.

Manchester United are facing the Spanish side in their final friendly before the season starts.

Maguire has been stripped of the captaincy and has not even been given it in a friendlyGetty

And Erik ten Hag has used it to play several fringe players, of which Maguire now belongs.

Having already been stripped of the captaincy earlier this summer, the England international was also denied the armband despite new skipper Bruno Fernandes not playing.

Instead, Tom Heaton has been named captain this Sunday in Dublin at the age of 37 in yet another clear snub from Ten Hag to Maguire.

The defender was furious that he had lost his armband earlier this summer.

Fernandes has been named as the new United captain while Maguire has been relegated to a bit-part role at Old Trafford.

“After discussions with the manager today he has informed me he is changing captain,” Maguire tweeted last month.

“He outlined his reasons to me and whilst I’m personally extremely disappointed, I will continue to give my all every time I wear the shirt.

“So I wanted to say a massive thank you to the Manchester United fans for all their brilliant support whilst I’ve been wearing the armband.”

Maguire is no longer a starter at Old Trafford following Ten Hag’s arrivalGetty

Maguire started just eight Premier League matches in the 2022/23 seasonGetty

As well as Heaton and Maguire, several other fringe players have been named to face Athletic Bilbao.

Facundo Pellestri, Dan Gore, and Donny van de Beek will play while new signing Rasmus Hojlund will have to wait for his debut.

The 20-year-old, who was signed from Atalanta for £72 million, is facing a spell on the sidelines.

He picked up a knock while in Italy that will see him miss a few weeks of action just as the Premier League season gets underway.

Maguire has been linked with an exit from United this summer amid interest from West Ham.

David Moyes is keen on the former Leicester star but saw a £20 million bid rejected outright by the Red Devils.

However, with Ten Hag keen to raise funds, the Hammers could return with a double swoop bid for Maguire and Scott McTominay.
The prominent Dutch coach, Erik ten Hag, has named goalkeeper Tom Heaton as Manchester United’s captain for their friendly match against Swiss outfit, FC Zurich. In a surprising twist, club captain Harry Maguire was given a much needed rest after a busy start to the season.

The 33-year-old Heaton is a long-term member of the Manchester United squad after his arrival in the summer of 2019. Since joining the club, Heaton has made a name for himself with standout performances and a plethora of saves. His leadership capabilities make him the perfect choice to fill in for Maguire in this friendly match.

Despite the match being a friendly, ten Hag is determined to see his team perform at their best. The manager is also closely monitoring performances going forward and wants to ensure that Manchester United perform well in the UEFA Europa League.

Heaton is expected to have a vital role in the team’s success as they look to gain qualifying points in the Europa League. He could be handed his first start of the season, leading the team out as captain. It would be a momentous occasion for Heaton and could give him the boost of confidence he needs to kick on this season.

Manchester United fans will be hoping that Heaton stands up to the occasion when they line-up against FC Zurich on Wednesday. The Red Devils will be looking to put their poor start to the season behind them and will no doubt want to see a strong performance from their captain.

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