Why Harry Maguire missed Tottenham vs Man Utd in the Premier League

In Maguire’s absence, Victor Lindelof and Luke Shaw started at centre-back.

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Harry Maguire was a surprise absentee for Manchester United in Thursday’s Premier League match against Tottenham Hotspur.

The United captain was not expected to start given the solid defensive showing Victor Lindelof and Luke Shaw put in on Sunday at Wembley, but his omission from the squad was not anticipated. Maguire missed the game due to an injury suffered in training during the week, meaning the Red Devils only have one fit, natural centre-back at present.

Raphael Varane is still out through injury, while the broken metatarsal suffered by Lisandro Martinez against Sevilla two weeks ago means he won’t play again this season. As a result, Shaw was forced to start in the centre of defence on Thursday, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Diogo Dalot in the full-back areas.

There was better news in midfield, however, with Bruno Fernandes recovering from a knock he picked up in Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final win over Brighton & Hove Albion. Erik ten Hag admitted in the build-up to Thursday’s trip to North London that Fernandes was a doubt, but he was named in the starting line-up. Christian Eriksen was also selected to face his old club, with Casemiro partnering him in the middle.

Jadon Sancho returned to the team to face Spurs after he dropped to the bench at the weekend, while Antony started out wide, with Marcus Rashford up front. That decision meant Anthony Martial, who was poor against Brighton, was named on the bench.

United starting XI: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Shaw, Malacia; Casemiro, Eriksen; Antony, Fernandes, Sancho; Rashford.