‘Not Ideal’ – England Manager Speaks on Manchester United Duo’s Situation Ahead of World Cup

Manchester United Duo

England manager Gareth Southgate has dubbed the lack of Premier League playing time for Manchester United Duo Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw as “not ideal” ahead of the forthcoming international break.

Three United players received call-ups to the England squad on September 15; Maguire, Shaw and Dean Henderson. The latter is making his mark between the goalposts at Nottingham Forest, where he will stay until the end of the 2022/2023 campaign.

Manchester United Duo’s Lack of Game Time a Concern for England Manager

They Have Not Started a League Game Since August 13

Both Shaw and Maguire have fallen out of favour in recent weeks at the club. They were named in the starting lineup for the first two matches of the season against Brighton & Hove Albion and Brentford, which concluded with United ending the second game week 20th place in the Premier League. Even more concerningly for the defenders, the Red Devils conceded six goals across the 180 minutes.

Read more: No One Is Safe – Erik Ten Hag Lays Down New Law at Manchester United This Season

Consequently, Erik ten Hag opted to replace the Englishmen for their next fixture against Liverpool with two new summer arrivals; Lisandro Martinez and Tyrell Malacia. The Argentine was partnered alongside four-time Champions League winner Raphael Varane in a bid to keep Liverpool’s ever-threatening attackers quiet during the fiery clash.

Manchester United’s First Win Came Against Rivals

Despite a late goal by Mohamed Salah, United were able to claim the three points at Old Trafford thanks to the changes Ten Hag made. The back four looked like a trustworthy ensemble, so much so that Martinez was awarded Man of the Match for his remarkable performance.

 

Ten Hag was so impressed with his squad’s performance that the starting lineup remained unchanged for the following two games against Southampton and Leicester City. Two 1-0 victories meant the Red Devils had secured their first clean sheets of the season, an element which they had struggled to obtain in recent years.

Read more: Premier League Predictions

The only change on the team sheet against Arsenal was new arrival Antony in place of Anthony Elanga in attack. A debut goal from the Brazilian, as well as two from Marcus Rashford, ended the Gunner’s five-game unbeaten streak.

Manchester United Duo Will Represent England in September

England boss Southgate was able to overlook the two United stars’ game-time and decided to give Shaw and Maguire the call-up to represent the Three Lions in their upcoming Nations League fixtures.

Read more: Star Striker Gets Debut Call Up – Gareth Southgate Announces England Squad

When addressing his decision on the squad, he said: “Clearly, we have a number of players including Ben Chilwell, Luke Shaw, Harry Maguire and Kalvin Phillips who are not playing a lot of minutes with their club.

“It is not ideal, but we feel they have been and can be, important players for us. It is not a perfect situation but there is still a lot of football to be played before Qatar.”

Hectic Autumn Period Will Determine World Cup Call-Ups

The Manchester side will play 13 games in 42 days following a 17-day gap in between club games. The league will then come to a halt on November 13 for the World Cup and return on Boxing Day. This season, Ten Hag and his team will be primarily focusing on the league and likely using the early stages of their Europa League campaign to give regular first-team players a rest.

It’s difficult to see where the two Englishmen can force their way back into the starting eleven, especially with the success of the team when their alternatives are deployed. In the summer, Maguire and Shaw would have been two names certain to be on the plane to Qatar, but unless they’re able to pick up significantly more competitive minutes, they could miss out entirely.

It’s unlikely Southgate will utilise players who have only been used sparingly as substitutes, or in less competitive fixtures, for what could be a key tournament for the England manager.

Maguire and Shaw will need to display impeccable form if they are to cement their names on the team sheet for both club and country in the foreseeable future.