Erik ten Hag has discovered a new Manchester United undroppable after win vs Luton Town – George Smith

The Manchester United defender, as expected, was included in Gareth Southgate&aposs 25-man squad this week for the Three Lions&apos two remaining European Championship qualifiers. They welcome Malta to Wembley on Friday evening before making the trip to North Macedonia three days later.

England have already secured their spot at next summer&aposs showpiece event in Germany, meaning Southgate will likely use the clashes with Malta and North Macedonia to experiment. At the same time, though, he will want six points from six, which is something that has been reflected in his star-studded selection.

Two United players have been included in his plans, with Marcus Rashford joining Maguire in making the cut. Both players played key roles in England&aposs 3-1 win over Italy that secured Euro 2024 qualification last month.

While Rashford scored, Maguire produced yet another faultless display for his country, fully justifying Southgate&aposs decision to select him. However, the England manager&aposs decision to consistently include him in his plans over the past 12 to 18 months has constantly been greeted with groans and murmurs of discontent, raising questions about how he can be picked for his country when he is barely playing for his club.

Ahead of England&aposs next crop of fixtures, however, nobody can question his inclusion. Since the Three Lions&apos triumph over Italy on October 17, the defender has started each of United&aposs last seven games, playing every single minute.

He has, against all odds, leapfrogged Raphael Varane in the pecking order and established himself as a central figure in United&aposs defence once again. He has produced a catalogue of solid performances in recent weeks, not least in the 1-0 win over Fulham at Craven Cottage earlier this month.

Playing through the pain barrier on the banks of the Thames, the former Leicester City defender, who was stripped of the United captaincy in the summer, was nothing short of outstanding. He led by example and produced, quite arguably, the best performance of any United defender so far this season.

It was a similar tale against Luton Town on Saturday, as he produced another faultless performance in the heart of the back-four, this time flanked by match-winner Victor Lindelof. Completing three clearances, three blocks, nine ball recoveries and winning two duels, Maguire dealt with everything that came his way.

He was also adventurous in possession, completing 78 of his 86 attempted passes. Furthermore, he completed 16 of his 19 passes inside the final third, one of which was recorded as a key pass, highlighting that he is willing to be adventurous and progressive in possession.

As a caveat, as some are certain to point out, United were, with respect, up against a Luton side who have won just one of their opening 12 Premier League games this season. Maguire will face sterner tests in the coming weeks.

But to the England international&aposs credit, his performances since the last international break have been worthy of applause and recognition. After a testing few months, he has rekindled his United career as a result of hard work, determination and the highest level of professionalism.

He has never once kicked up a fuss or thrown his toys out of the pram, which is a testament to Maguire&aposs character. He is now, without any shadow of a doubt, one of the very first names on Erik ten Hag&aposs teamsheet.

He has established himself, at this current juncture, as United&aposs chief centre-back, dominating the right-sided centre-back position. Some may imply that Maguire&aposs recent resurrection is a reflection of how much the Reds&apos performances have regressed so far this season, but the defender, looking at his performances in isolation, has massively improved.

He vowed to get his head down, work hard and improve. He is now reaping the rewards of sticking to those principles.

After seven starts in a row for United, nobody can have any complaints if Southgate picks him to start on Friday evening. He will have earned his 61st cap.