| 8°C Belfast

Under-fire Maguire will show his resilience and bounce back: Solskjaer

United boss backs England ace, but knock means he may sit out


Firing line: Harry Maguire has been in the spotlight after a number of abject performances for club and country

Firing line: Harry Maguire has been in the spotlight after a number of abject performances for club and country

Getty Images

Firing line: Harry Maguire has been in the spotlight after a number of abject performances for club and country

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has no doubt out-of-sorts Harry Maguire will "bounce back" from his England nightmare - but revealed the Manchester United captain could miss tonight's trip to Newcastle through injury.

After a well-documented Greek court case and truncated pre-season, the most expensive defender in history has endured a torrid start to the 2020-21 campaign.

Maguire was under sharp focus after his miserable performance in United's 6-1 home embarrassment to Tottenham, with the scrutiny ratcheting up on Wednesday after he was sent off for England in the 31st minute.

Just three days after putting in a solid display in the comeback win against Belgium, the 27-year-old received his marching orders for two rash challenges in the first half of a match that ended in a 1-0 defeat to Denmark.

England boss Gareth Southgate and captain Harry Kane threw their support behind Maguire after the shock Nations League loss, with Solskjaer following suit.

"When Harry is part of the England team that beats No.1-ranked Belgium, that's just a normal day, and then you get the headlines when you get the sending-off," the United boss said. "That's just football for you.

"There's so many ups and downs that we have got to deal with it, individually and as a group. Harry's got great resilience. I know he'll bounce back. I know that he wants to play, he wants to just work his way out of the last couple of games that he's been criticised (for).

"He picked up a knock against (Denmark) just before he came off, so I'm hopeful he'll be fit. We've had a look at him yesterday and will give him a test again today."

Maguire's absence might be a blessing in disguise in the opinion of United great Rio Ferdinand, who says the defender could benefit from being "taken out of the oven".

But Solskjaer says Maguire is determined to make amends on the pitch as United look to produce a positive reaction to the bruising 6-1 shellacking at home to Spurs when they step out at St James' Park.

"It's one of those things that you have to get over as soon as you can and move on," the under-fire United boss said. "We know any chance from outside, you want to create a division.

"I think Bruno (Fernandes) spoke really well the other day about how we are united, we have to stay together. We can't listen to everyone outside. We've got to just get on with it.

"Bruno's now lost two league games since he came to the club and he came in February, but it's been two in quick succession.

"So he's not used to losing league games for us, but now, Bruno, welcome to Man United - this is what happens when you lose a couple, they're going to try to create a division between us.

"But that's not going to happen because this group is a group that wants to work hard together, stick together."

Solskjaer's hopes of turning around their early-season form have been boosted by a busy end to the transfer window, although United missed out on Jadon Sancho.

But the late acquisitions of Edinson Cavani, Facundo Pellistri and Alex Telles will provide welcome options, with Solskjaer "looking forward to integrating them into the group".

"Facundo, he's been in training with us now two days," said Solskjaer. "Very exciting, young, enthusiastic player."

• Manchester United have triggered the extension clause in Paul Pogba's contract, keeping the midfielder at the club until 2022.

The 27-year-old returned to Old Trafford from Juventus in a then world-record deal in 2016.

Pogba's Old Trafford contract was due to expire next summer but it is understood that United, as widely expected, have exercised their option to extend the deal by a further year.

The deal is believed to have been triggered before the World Cup winner fuelled talk about his future during the international break when he spoke of playing for Real Madrid one day.

newcastle v man utd

St James' Park, Tonight, 8.00pm

Belfast Telegraph