Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has explained that there was never any doubt in his mind that Harry Maguire was going to start at Newcastle. The Manchester United captain has endured a tough time both on and off the field in the past few months and many felt he was in need of a rest ahead of the trip to Tyneside.
Maguire was sent off in midweek for England against Denmark, following two yellow cards.
Solskjaer was more than willing to call upon him for the clash with the Magpies, despite his poor form.
He lined up alongside the returning Victor Lindelof at the heart of defence and ahead of the game, Solskjaer revealed Maguire’s mindset made the decision easy for him.
When asked whether the United boss considered dropping him, he told Sky Sports: “If he was fit, no.
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“I think Harry is one of those who wants to prove himself again
“He’s resilient enough and I think it would be worse if he was sat at home.
“His mindset has always been, I’m playing.”
Ahead of the game, Solskjaer jumped to the defence of Maguire and claimed he was not in need of a rest.
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At this point it was clear that Solskjaer was planning to start with Maguire in the North East.
“Yeah, we even gave Harry a rest in one of the games in the Carabao Cup [versus Brighton ], which we normally don’t do, because we wanted him to do some training. But he’s adamant that he’s ready to play,” he said.
“I know he’s a lad that doesn’t want to hide. He doesn’t want to hide behind a red card or a bad performance. He wants to go out there and prove himself.
“I don’t doubt his resilience in that respect and he’s very professional, so he wants to put himself ready for selection and then it’s up to me to choose him or not, if I want to take him out of the firing line.
“I haven’t considered that without him coming to knock on my door, to be honest. I speak to him regularly and he’s been very positive in his communication.”
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United have a gruelling run of fixtures coming up as they prepare to take on Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea, RB Leipzig and Arsenal.
In midweek, former Red Devils captain Roy Keane questioned whether the current morale at United was the best environment for Maguire, given his lack of confidence.
“The only down side is for Maguire, he’s going back to a team not full of confidence,” Keane told ITV after England’s 1-0 defeat to Denmark.
“I’ve been in situations before when I was in a situation with brilliant characters; I felt the dressing room was the best in the world. He’s not going to get that, in that back four.
“I wouldn’t be anywhere near those lads – I don’t see them as leaders.”
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