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Manchester United could have Maguire back for FA Cup final

Erik ten Hag could have several defensive options for the FA Cup final against Manchester City

Harry Maguire

Manchester United’s injury-depleted defence could be boosted by the return of England international Harry Maguire for next weekend’s FA Cup final against Manchester City.

Maguire sustained an undisclosed muscle injury in training earlier this month and was ruled out for three weeks. His absence has coincided with the likes of Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez and Victor Lindelof also being out, forcing Brazil midfielder Casemiro into the centre of the United defence, a role in which he has struggled.

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However, the situation appears to be improving for Ten Hag. Martinez returned as a substitute in the 3-2 defeat of Newcastle last night while Varane and Lindelof have also returned to training.

The potential availability of Maguire for the clash with City is another boost for United.

Speaking ahead of Sunday’s trip to Brighton, Ten Hag said: “We have seen yesterday Licha Martinez [returned]. He had a good session now as well. There were also others on the pitch like Rapha Varane and Victor Lindelof. They returned on the pitch. We have to see how far they are on Sunday.”

Asked if Maguire and Luke Shaw would be fit for the Wembley clash with United’s cross-city rivals as well as Euro 2024, he said: “For England I can’t say, it’s not up to me. But for the cup final, we’re working on it and I think Maguire has a fair chance that he will be available. We plan [for] him.

“Luke is more complicated. In this moment, let’s say it’s a less chance that he will make it but there is still a very small, reduced chance. He had the setback and now we have to find out how far he is.”

What does Ten Hag make of the possibility of VAR being phased out in the Premier League?

Ten Hag was also asked about the fact Premier League clubs will vote whether or not to scrap VAR at their AGM on June 6.

The former Ajax boss admitted the system was not perfect but believes it will stay in place for the start of next season.

“I don’t think there is a way back,” he said. “In principle it makes football more fair. But we have problems. We have to make improvements.”

Picture of Jon Fisher

Jon Fisher

Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.