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Europa League

Harry Maguire injury: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admission over Europa League final

Harry Maguire is winning his race to be fit for the Europa League final, according to Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Maguire suffered ankle ligament damage in United’s 3-1 win at Aston Villa a week ago, making him a major doubt for the final against Villarreal in Gdansk on May 26.

But Solskjaer said he remained upbeat about Maguire’s chances of making the final, although admitted United’s medical team are taking no chances with his recovery.

“He’s making progress, but we’ve consciously taken the route of not testing him out too early, too quickly, because we don’t want to aggravate something,” said Solskjaer.

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“Harry is very – how do you say? – he wants this so much, so he doesn’t want to take any risks either.

“When I spoke to him this morning, he was quite positive. But naturally, the day after it happened, we were all down.

Harry Maguire in the stands wearing a foot brace
Harry Maguire in the stands wearing a foot brace

“But we saw early on or decided we have to focus, have to be positive and think that you’re going to make it until you have to say ‘no’. I’ve always been an optimist, so we’re positive.

“Hopefully we’ll get good news early but I’ll give it as long as it takes. I became a very good player when I was injured.

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“People realised then just what I could do. Harry is our leader and our captain. He’s a big miss.

“Hopefully he’ll be ready for the final. I’ll give him as long as he needs, until he says yes or no.”

Harry Maguire is an important player for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Man Utd
Harry Maguire is an important player for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Man Utd

Solskjaer admitted he faces some big selection calls for the final, not least whether to pick David De Gea or Dean Henderson in goal.

De Gea has started all of United’s Europa League games, with Henderson given the nod in the Premier League, although Solskjaer remained coy on who will start the final.

“I think there’s loads of difficult calls to make, because the whole squad has contributed so much,” said Solskjaer.

“It’s probably a different scenario with the keepers than it’s normally been, because they’ve shared, I don’t know how many games, close to 60.

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“Both of them are in and around the 30 mark and both have done really well, so it will be a difficult call, of course. But I’ll have to make two or three other difficult calls as well.

“That’s the nature of this job, that you have to make some tough decisions and you have to stand by them.

“We’ve still got a couple of games left in the league to finalise what the 11 in the final will be.

“All my players, they know they’ve been important for us this season.

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“We couldn’t get to a final, second place in the league, without everyone’s contribution every day because that’s the culture we are in.

“They’ve been competitive, but they’ve been very supportive as well.”

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