Man Utd legend Mike Phelan reveals shock position Harry Maguire could play – and hints at reason for his struggles


SIR ALEX FERGUSON’S former assistant Mike Phelan has hinted Harry Maguire could play as a defensive midfielder for Manchester United.

The England international is no longer certain to start at Old Trafford after Erik ten Hag stripped him of his captaincy.

EPAMike Phelan is Sir Alex Ferguson’s former assistant at Man Utd[/caption]

ReutersPhelan has hinted Harry Maguire might be more suited as a defensive midfielder[/caption]

Maguire, 30, is a centre-back at heart but has fallen down the pecking order behind Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez, Victor LindelofLuke Shaw and Jonny Evans.

He has had very few starts under Ten Hag over the past 12 months and appears to still be struggling.

The centre-back was considering a move to Premier League rivals West Ham this summer but the move collapsed as talks stalled.

Phelan, who coached Maguire at Hull, believes the former captain can play further up the pitch.

He told Sky Sports: “Harry came to the club from Sheffield United and he played a bit as a sitting defensive midfield player there.

“At Hull, he was building up to the player we thought he would be.”

The 60-year-old was Sir Alex Ferguson‘s right-hand man during the final five years of the legendary manager’s tenure at Old Trafford.

Maguire moved to Hull from the Blades in the summer of 2014 and played an important role in helping the Tigers win promotion back to the Premier League and did well during the 2016-17 campaign.


This earned him the move to Leicester the following year and in the summer of 2019, he joined Man Utd in an £80million deal.

Phelan added: “We always knew he had strengths and weaknesses, most players do.

“Then the United thing came along and at that time, Harry was a top player.

“Nobody could say he wasn’t a top player in that position having played at Leicester.

“Yes, the fee was a lot. But you’re not in control of that.

“Having come to United, he did really well. He had composure on the ball.”

Phelan believes Maguire has suffered at United because of their unsettled midfield and backline.

He continued: “What he didn’t have was a settled environment of who played in front of him, who sat alongside him. He jumped in at the deep end a little bit.”

Phelan has praised Maguire for handling his difficult situation at Old Trafford “unbelievably professionally” and believes a transfer “might still happen” in January.

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