LONDON (REUTERS) - Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag said Harry Maguire's position as club captain will not guarantee him a spot in the team, especially when they have Raphael Varane as an option in defence.
Maguire was dropped in favour of Varane, a World Cup winner with France, in United's morale-boosting 2-1 Premier League win over Liverpool on Monday, and the England international has also been linked in British media with a move to rivals Chelsea.
"I think that doesn't mean when you are captain you are established to always play," Ten Hag told reporters ahead of Saturday's (Aug 27) league trip to Southampton. "Especially when you also have Varane in your squad. We have options.
"Varane, his stature is immense and in pre-season, we took a decision to build him physically so he had a bit of a slow start.
"You see when the team needed him he was really there (against Liverpool) and his profile, his stature and what he won already in the past shows he can really contribute to his team. For the team there is competition and we need that."
Maguire started United's first two games of the season, where they suffered a 2-1 loss at home to Brighton & Hove Albion and a 4-0 defeat at Brentford. The team are 14th in the league after three games.