Manchester United head coach Erik ten Hag reportedly allowed club captain Harry Maguire to take a holiday last week in order to ‘clear his head’ amid a difficult period.
The centre-back’s form for club and country is coming under increasing scrutiny, and he has missed his team’s last two matches due to a hamstring problem that he suffered while representing England.
However, rather than recover at the club’s Carrington training complex, Ten Hag allegedly allowed Maguire to take a holiday in Portugal last week.
“Erik has high standards for everyone to abide by. He expects all injured players to remain with the group. He believes they should function as one unit – injured or not,” The Sun quotes a source as saying.
“But in Harry’s case he felt there were exceptional circumstances. He wanted him to have a mental break from the pressure he’s under. He went away with his family and Erik hopes that will put him in a better place to recover from injury and rediscover his form.”
Maguire struggled for form during the 2021-22 campaign but started this season in the first XI, playing the full 90 minutes against both Brighton & Hove Albion and Brentford in the Premier League.
The former Sheffield United youngster has only played 10 minutes of league football since the loss at Brentford, though, with Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez becoming the team’s first-choice centre-back duo.
Maguire faced more criticism for his performance in England’s 3-3 draw with Germany during the recent international break, but Ten Hag insisted that he will continue to back his captain.
“I have to back him but I back him because I believe in him. I can see the qualities and even after he wasn’t in the team he trained really well and, more importantly, the quality was really there,” he told reporters.
“You see his career, almost 50 caps for England, for Leicester and Man United – he’s performing really well, what you see is high potential.
“And then it’s about him. The players in the dressing room, the coaches, the manager believe in him. That’s what I told him, I’m sure he can do it and he will turn it around, I’m convinced of that.”
A statement from a United spokesman said: “Harry was given permission to travel to Portugal to continue his rehabilitation while the rest of the squad was in Cyprus, allowing him to benefit from the same warm weather conditions. Harry was accompanied by a MU physio and has been working hard on his recovery.”
Maguire is due back at the club’s Carrington training complex on Sunday, but the centre-back will not be involved in the Premier League clash with Everton at Goodison Park.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Donny van de Beek are also out of the match through injury, but Varane has a chance of recovering from an ankle injury in time for the game with the Toffees.