Manchester United captain Harry Maguire was loudly booed when in possession of the ball during the pre-season friendly with Crystal Palace on Tuesday.
The Red Devils took on Premier League rivals Palace in Melbourne as Erik ten Hag looks to whip his squad into shape. And skipper Maguire was handed a start at the back alongside Victor Lindelof.
Question marks surround whether Maguire’s poor form last season will cost him his place and the captain’s armband for this season. Ten Hag has so far supported his man, publicly backing him both in terms of playing and leadership.
However, those inside the Melbourne Cricket Ground made their feelings clear towards the Englishman with a chorus of loud boos every time he got the ball in the opening minutes. Maguire’s name was also subjected to a poor reception when it was read out ahead of the match.
Ten Hag backed his captain ahead of the friendly, insisting he believes in the 30-year-old to lead the squad. “I will support him everywhere I can,” said the Dutchman.
“In the end, he has to do it by himself and he has the qualities to do it. He has showed it so often in the past. I always see the captaincy as an issue that I dictate.”
When asked about the captain’s role, Ten Hag added: “The team building for me is an important point and I always talk about a group of leaders. The captain is a really important one and I’m happy with him.”
And when asked if Maguire will be a first-choice starter, he answered: “I think he is. He’s proved it in the past but he has also to prove it in the present time and in the future.”