Maguire fit again, Rashford eager for ‘fresh start’

Manchester United's manager Erik ten Hag (L) and player Marcus Rashford attend a press conference in Melbourne on July 14, 2022, ahead of their exhibition football match against Melbourne Victory. Photo: AFP

Manchester United captain Harry Maguire should be available to face Melbourne Victory after missing their 4-0 thumping of Liverpool, manager Erik ten Hag said Thursday.

The England defender was a conspicuous absence in the first game of the Red Devils' pre-season tour in Bangkok on Tuesday, watching from the sidelines after a knock in training.

Manchester United defender Harry Maguire (L) takes part in a training session at Rajamangala National Stadium in Bangkok on July 11, 2022, a day before an exhibition football match in the Thai capital against English Premier League rival Liverpool FC. Photo: AFP

In his place, Raphael Varane, Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly and Alex Telles all got time in central defence instead.

But Ten Hag, who took over in May after finishing a successful spell at Ajax, said Maguire should play at least 45 minutes in front of expected bumper crowd at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

"He is tomorrow available," said Ten Hag, whose side also face Crystal Palace and Aston Villa in Australia. "We will see (how long for). I think he can play half a game."

United head into Friday's match with no fresh injury concerns reported.

Ten Hag pointed to a crop of youngsters, like Ethan Laird, Hannibal and Alejandro Garnacho, "with huge potential".

"Now it's about getting the potential out of them," he said, with all three no doubt eager to get an opportunity on Friday.

Rashford 'looking forward to getting more games' under Ten Hag

Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford said Thursday he was relishing a "fresh start" under new coach Erik ten Hag, keen to put a forgettable last season behind him.

The England international had a frustrating and disappointing 2021/22 campaign, dropped by Gareth Southgate from the national team amid a form dip at the Old Trafford club.

But he has been working hard over the English summer and, injury free, is on his first full pre-season tour since breaking into the senior Red Devils squad.

"For me, it's a fresh start and something I'm looking forward to," he said in Melbourne ahead of their tour game against Melbourne Victory after a 4-0 win over Liverpool in Bangkok this week.

"I'm in a good place right now. I'm just looking forward to getting more games under my belt."

The good place comes is courtesy of a rare, prolonged summer break with no international duty.

"It's been a bit unnatural for me to have such a long break in the summer, just under four weeks and I could have a break physically and mentally," said the 24-year-old.

"It's massive to have a full pre-season. This is the first year I've been with the team from the beginning and I already feel a lot better.

"I think the first two-and-a-half weeks of training have been good, we're (United) a lot fitter than we were last season and also we're making mistakes along the way so we have a lot of room for improvement."

Asked about his confidence after a season in which United finished a disappointing sixth in the Premier League, Rashford said it was never easy playing on an underperforming team.

"I always say to myself it's a lot easier to make mistakes in a team that's winning," he said.

"The last game against Liverpool for example we won but we made a lot of mistakes. Individually it's the same. When you're losing it's difficult -- we're all sportsmen and we don't like to lose.

"When that happens you have to refocus and try to win the next game.

"It's a big club we play for and we're expected to win and we have to work hard to improve."