Erik ten Hag ‘wanted Man Utd leader to stay’ as squad’s Harry Maguire view comes to light

Erik ten Hag's first training session as Man Utd boss

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Erik ten Hag wanted Nemanja Matic to stay at Manchester United, according to reports. The Serbia international has decided to join Roma after the expiry of his Old Trafford contract. And it’s also been reported that the squad have been ‘amused’ by Harry Maguire’s recent Instagram mistake.

Matic was signed by United back in the summer transfer window of 2017, shortly after the club missed out on landing Tottenham’s Eric Dier.

And though he didn’t win a trophy throughout his time at Old Trafford he was a leader within the group under Ralf Rangnick, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Jose Mourinho.

Now, The Athletic have claimed Ten Hag tried to keep Matic at United for an extra year.

It’s stated the Dutchman wanted to retain the services of the Serbia international because he was a ‘good influence’ in the dressing room.

But Matic decided to leave United instead after five years, choosing to reunite with Mourinho at Serie A giants Roma.

It’s also claimed that United players have been left ‘amused’ by Maguire’s recent Instagram mistake where he ‘liked’ a post about Cristiano Ronaldo.

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The post referenced this and the 37-year-old’s unhappiness at having 25 per cent of his wages cut due to a failure to qualify for the Champions League.

Maguire has insisted he liked the post in error but that hasn’t stopped his United team-mates from having a laugh at his expense behind the scenes.

It’s currently unclear whether the 29-year-old will keep the club’s captaincy having struggled for form in recent months.

Ronaldo would normally be a candidate to replace him in the role but, with his future up in the air, it’s unclear what will happen.

Bruno Fernandes is another option, with the United star establishing himself as a talismanic figure within the dressing room since moving from Sporting Lisbon back in the January transfer window of 2020.


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And David De Gea is a candidate, too, having been at Old Trafford for 11 years.

Regarding Matic, the former United star opened up on his decision to leave back in May after the club’s 3-0 win over Brentford.

“Yeah, I was thinking for a couple of months about that and I made that decision,” said the midfielder.

“The last night [at Old Trafford] was fantastic for me. Thanks to our supporters.

“The applause that I got, in front of 75,000 was great. It was emotional for me. I will use this opportunity to say thank you to them.

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And he added: I think the fans recognise what I’m doing on the pitch. Also, off the pitch I try to be an example.

“I tried to be a Manchester United player not only on the pitch but also outside the pitch.

“I know what this badge means to our supporters, so you need to be an example not only on the pitch.

“I think they recognise that and that’s why, when I came off, I had that applause I had.”

Matic revealed he’d miss everybody at United, too, insisting he enjoyed his stint with the club despite their failure to win trophies.

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“I will miss players but not only players, also the staff around the players: the kit man, the physios, the doctors. Everyone,” said the former Chelsea star.

“I don’t want to forget someone.

“But, to be honest, United has some fantastic people that are working for the club.

“They are behind the cameras but they are very important for the team. They really like the club and that’s good.

“I’m really happy that I had the opportunity to work with them and, for sure, they will be my friends forever.”

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