Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Harry Maguire’s ankle injury has demonstrated the defender’s importance to Manchester United.
Maguire has not featured since being substituted during the win at Aston Villa on May 9, with the club captain facing a race against time to prove his fitness ahead of the Europa League final and this summer’s European Championship.
United have lost both games in the centre-back’s absence and have looked vulnerable in back-to-back defeats to Leicester and Liverpool, the latter loss particularly concerning as the visitors scored four times at Old Trafford.
Solskjaer’s side face Villarreal in the final of the Europa League next Wednesday and the Norwegian insists Maguire’s absence highlights his importance to the side, though says the Red Devils will not rush the defender back if he is not fit enough to feature.
“We’ve known it all along but maybe some people open their eyes more when he’s not playing,” Solskjaer told his pre-match press conference ahead of Tuesday’s clash with Fulham.
“Harry is our leader and our captain. We’re consciously taking the route of not testing him out too early because we don’t want to aggravate something.
“Harry wants this so much. The day after it happened we were all done but we decided to focus, be positive and think he’s going to make it until we have to say no.”
United’s fixture with Fulham will be the first time in 14 months that home fans have been allowed to attend a Premier League fixture at Old Trafford, with around 10,000 fans expected as the government permits reduced capacity attendances in the division this week.
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