Soccer

Man Utd boss Ten Hag explains benching Maguire for Everton clash

ten Hag comments on Man Utd's January transfer plans

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Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has explained his decision to drop Harry Maguire for tonight’s FA Cup clash with Everton. The England international, along with Victor Lindelof, have been named among the substitutes. Luke Shaw and Raphael Varane will be the club’s centre-back pairing instead as they look to make the fourth round of the competition.

Manchester United have gone strong for tonight’s clash with Everton as they look to get their FA Cup campaign off to a winning start. David De Gea starts in goal, with the Spain international currently on a run of four clean sheets from his last four outings for the club.

Lindelof and Maguire make way for Shaw and Varane, with Diogo Dalot back in at right-back and Tyrell Malacia deployed on the opposite side of their defence. In midfield, Christian Eriksen, Casemiro and Bruno Fernandes all get the nod.

And, up top, Antony and Marcus Rashford start either side of Anthony Martial.

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Now, Ten Hag has opened up on his team selection and elaborated on his decision by saying: “We take every game and every competition seriously. It’s also a tactical choice. They form a very good hinge with Rapha [Varane] and Tyrell Malacia played very well, so I keep that.

“It’s important [the return of Dalot and Antony]. It’s also what they play for, to find their connection on the pitch.”

When quizzed on Old Trafford potentially becoming a fortress again, he continued: “You have to prove it in every game. “You have to be ready for every game and that starts with the right intensity, the right attitude, the right energy.”

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United have been impressive since the World Cup in Qatar, winning their last four matches following the competition in the Middle East. They beat Burnley 2-0 in the Carabao Cup with Eriksen and Rashford on target against Vincent Kompany’s side.

United then proceeded to beat Nottingham Forest 3-0, with Rashford, Anthony Martial and Fred all finding the net. Rashford was the matchwinner in the 1-0 victory over Wolves on December 31, with the England international coming off the bench to steal the spotlight.

And Bournemouth were easily swatted aside on Tuesday. Rashford again struck, with Casemiro and Luke Shaw registering goals as well.

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United will be going up against an Everton side stuck in a rut at present, with the Toffees sliding closer and closer to the Premier League relegation zone. Yet Frank Lampard has insisted he doesn’t fear for his job and has issued a rallying cry prior to the contest.

“I’ve never, and would never, seek reassurances,” said the Toffees boss, who has been sacked by Chelsea earlier in his career.

“It’s my job to focus on the job in hand, day to day, game to game. I’m not hunting around for any reassurances. I’m a big man, working for a great club, and I’ll keep doing it.”

And he added: “If we win the next League game, we’ll be out of the bottom three probably, it’s part of the process. I’m very aware of what I came in to do in this job. I want to be a success at this club. Any challenges that come along, I’ll take them on and actually enjoy them.

“I enjoy working for this club, it’s a real honour for me. That’s why I said I don’t need reassurances.” United beat Everton 2-1 at Goodison Park earlier in the season.

Alex Iwobi put Lampard’s side ahead with a terrific shot from the edge of the box, only for Antony and Cristiano Ronaldo to turn the game around.

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