DANNY MURPHY: Harry Maguire was outstanding in Qatar and deserves a run of starts at Man United when the season resumes… if he can’t nail down a regular spot at Old Trafford it may be time to move on
With Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez still in Qatar for today’s World Cup final, I assume Maguire will be involved against Burnley in the EFL Cup on Wednesday night, which will give him the chance of a run of matches at Old Trafford.
He deserves that opportunity after one of the comeback stories of the season. Written off by most people, he was outstanding for his country, which says plenty about his strength of character. It has to be admired.
Harry Maguire (pictured) was magnificent for England during their World Cup run in Qatar
He deserves a run in the starting line-up at Manchester United when domestic football returns
The question remains as to whether or not boss Erik ten Hag will restore Maguire to the side
The big question is whether his face fits with United manager Erik ten Hag and we’ll find out the answer soon.
The United team is more efficient with Casemiro protecting the back four and Maguire will benefit. But if he does well and is still replaced once Varane and Martinez are available, the writing will be on the wall.
I don’t think the United captain will want to hang around Old Trafford beyond the summer as a bit-part player and there won’t be any shortage of interest if he’s allowed to leave.
I can see him at Newcastle United, for example, where Eddie Howe will appreciate his strength and leadership.
The England man will face tough competition from the likes of Lisandro Martinez (pictured)
As usual, eyes will be on United once the Premier League restarts, not just because of the Maguire situation but also how they fare post-Cristiano Ronaldo.
The race at the top will also resume on Boxing Day, with champions Manchester City facing unexpected competition from leaders Arsenal.
A lot has been made of the knee injury Gabriel Jesus suffered with Brazil, that might keep him out for a month, but I don’t think the Gunners will crumble, as some suggest.
Raphael Varane will also challenge Maguire for a starting birth when he returns from Qatar
Jesus has been important in Arsenal’s great run: he’s unselfish; works hard off the ball and sets the tone for the press. But he hasn’t scored in his last 11 games so I don’t think Arsenal should be fearful of playing without him.
Eddie Nketiah is a fox in the box and can finish. Arsenal’s next three games against West Ham, Brighton and Newcastle are all winnable without Jesus.
It’s disrespectful to Arteta, as well as stars such as Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, Martin Odegaard and the other Arsenal players, to suggest one injury setback will make it a stroll.