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Maguire fit again, Rashford eager for ‘fresh start’

14 Jul 2022 | 08:20 | Football

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag (L) and player Marcus Rashford attend a press conference in Melbourne on July 14, 2022, ahead of their exhibition football match against Melbourne Victory. Photo: AFP

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Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag (L) and player Marcus Rashford attend a press conference in Melbourne on July 14, 2022, ahead of their exhibition football match against Melbourne Victory. Photo: AFP

Manchester United captain Harry Maguire will be available to face Melbourne Victory after missing the 4-0 win over Liverpool, manager Erik ten Hag said on Thursday.

The England defender was conspicuously absent for the first game of the Reds’ pre-season tour in Bangkok on Tuesday, watching from the sidelines after being knocked on the door during training.

Manchester United defender Harry Maguire (L) takes part in a training session at Rajamangala National Stadium in Bangkok on July 11, 2022, the day before an exhibition football match in the Thai capital against opponents. Liverpool FC in the English Premier League. Photo: AFP

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Manchester United defender Harry Maguire (L) takes part in a training session at Rajamangala National Stadium in Bangkok on July 11, 2022, the day before an exhibition football match in the Thai capital against opponents. Liverpool FC in the English Premier League. Photo: AFP

Instead, Raphael Varane, Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly and Alex Telles all had time at centre-back instead.

But Ten Hag, who took over in May after finishing a successful spell at Ajax, said Maguire should play at least 45 minutes in front of the crowd expected to be at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

“He will be available tomorrow,” said Ten Hag, as their side also face Crystal Palace and Aston Villa in Australia. “We’ll see (for how long). I think he can play half a game.”

United went into Friday’s game with no newly reported injury concerns.

Ten Hag points to a group of young people like Ethan Laird, Hannibal and Alejandro Garnacho, who “have huge potential”.

“Now it’s about tapping into their potential,” he said, with all three eager for a chance on Friday.

Rashford ‘looks forward to playing more’ under Ten Hag

Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford said on Thursday he is enjoying a “fresh start” under new manager Erik ten Hag, wanting to put a forgettable last season behind him.

The England international had a disappointing and disappointing 2021/22 season, when he was dropped from the national team by Gareth Southgate in the context of the Old Trafford team’s decline in form.

But he has worked hard over the English summer and is injury-free, on his first pre-season tour since joining the Reds senior squad.

“For me it’s a fresh start and something I’m looking forward to,” he said in Melbourne ahead of the Melbourne Victory match following a 4-0 win over Liverpool in Bangkok this week.

“I’m in a good position right now. I just look forward to getting more matches.”

Good place to come is courtesy of a rare extended summer break without international duties.

“It’s not natural that I have such a long vacation in the summer, just under four weeks and I can be rested both physically and mentally,” the 24-year-old said.

“It’s great to have a full pre-season. This is my first year with the team from the start and I already feel a lot better.

“I think the first two and a half weeks of training went well, we (United) are a lot better than last season and we are also making mistakes in training so we I have a lot of room to improve.”

When asked about his confidence after a season in which United finished a disappointing sixth in the Premier League, Rashford said that playing against an underperforming team has never been easy.

“I always tell myself that it’s a lot easier to make mistakes on a winning team,” he said.

“For example, the last game against Liverpool, we won but we made a lot of mistakes. Me too personally. When you lose it’s very difficult – we’re both sports athletes. And we don’t want to lose.

“When that happens, you have to refocus and try to win the next game.

“It’s a big club we play and we are expected to win and we have to work hard to improve.”

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