Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag says centre-back Harry Maguire remains an “important player” despite taking the captaincy away from him.

Ten Hag said he chose to give the armband to Bruno Fernandes because of his inspirational qualities.

Most perceive the switch as signalling the end of Maguire’s United career.

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“Everyone can understand it is disappointing for a player, but it can actually work out well for the team and for Harry,” said Ten Hag.

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United’s all-time top scorer Wayne Rooney has said recently that leaving the club would be the “best thing” for England defender Maguire, 30.

Ten Hag continued: “He stays an important player. He can fight himself into the team. He has potential and it’s up to him to get his position.

“Now he can focus more on his role, but a centre-back has to communicate and organise. It’s a big area where you have to perform as a centre-half.”

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