HE may have only enjoyed a few minutes of action but Harry Maguire was not going to let that spoil the moment.

The Manchester United centre-back is club captain after all and despite the fact he has lost his first-team place, the Carabao Cup final win over Newcastle was still a big moment for him.

Harry Maguire lifted the Carabao Cup alongside Bruno Fernandes


Harry Maguire lifted the Carabao Cup alongside Bruno FernandesCredit: Getty
Maguire is determined to keep winning trophies at United


Maguire is determined to keep winning trophies at UnitedCredit: Rex

Some may have taken to social media to scoff at the fact he was lifting the trophy with Bruno Fernandes, who had the armband on Sunday, having had such little involvement.

But Maguire — who came on as an 88th-minute sub at Wembley — has not moaned about his lot, or sought a move, unlike one United star of the recent past.

He has ignored the criticism, kept his head down, supported his team-mates, performed when called upon and will not give up on the quest to get back into the first XI.

So, yes, he was going to enjoy the moment.

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Maguire, who started in two earlier rounds of the competition, insisted: “I don’t have any mixed ­emotions. It’s been so long since the club won a trophy, it’s a really good day for the club and fans.

“I am club captain and my main job is to move this club forward and to bring success back to the club — and this has been part of it.

“I want to play and I want to lead the boys out but I also understand this is part and parcel of football at the top level and you have got huge competition.

“I also want to contribute to the team. I have a big responsibility on and off the pitch, so it was nice to get on and help the lads. It was an important win for us.”


Maguire, 29, came on in the 88th minute of the Carabao Cup final


Maguire, 29, came on in the 88th minute of the Carabao Cup finalCredit: Alamy

It shows how far United have come that the battle to get a starting place in the back four is so tough for Maguire.

Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez are the preferred pairing and have been in excellent form.

Erik ten Hag likes to utilise Luke Shaw in there, too, while Victor Lindelof has also got the nod ahead of Maguire.

But the manager has been positive behind the scenes with England regular Maguire about his role at the club and how much he still believes in him.

Maguire, 29, said: “He has been asked numerous times in interviews about my role and he tells me he believes in me — but this is football.

“Rapha is playing really well and the manager does like a left-footed centre-back playing, so it’s high competition for places.

The manager speaks to me daily and he really respects me

Harry Maguire

“This is Manchester United. We want to win trophies, and big trophies, and to do that you need competition for places.

“The manager speaks to me daily and he really respects me and believes that I am a top centre-half with all the attributes to play in his team.

“But also, he understands that the players who are playing are playing very well — and I understand that, too.”

It is that positive attitude, even from players not involved, that Maguire believes is helping forge the spirit at the club right now. No sulking, no cliques.

He said: “The mood is really good. The lads get on well and are a tight bunch. There is a good spirit with everyone contributing.

“The lads who aren’t playing, myself included, are working hard and pushing those who are playing, to perform well — and they are. That is what a big club’s about. What is being built here is why we are in all four competitions.”

United’s first trophy in six years and the first of the Ten Hag era really feels like a huge corner has been turned.

Of course, we have been here before under previous managers Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, only for things to go into reverse. This time, though, it really does feel different.

The belief in the squad, the players, the staff is the reason why we are moving forward

Harry Maguire

Maguire, an £85million signing from Leicester in 2019, added: “When I first came to this club, it felt like we had turned a corner, then we had a bad season and things changed again.

“If you spoke to the manager, he would tell you he has great confidence in his tools and his work and the squad he is building in terms of the players and staff. They are behind him.

“The belief in the squad, the players, the staff is the reason why we are moving forward.

“I think winning games breeds confidence and a good atmosphere among the fans and the club. We are all pulling in the same direction.

“We all want the same thing, we have got a good squad, good competition for places and the manager’s made a big impact on the style of play and in the demands he brings.”

The impact of winning a first trophy under the new boss, even if it is fourth on the priority list, cannot be underestimated.
Of course, there are still another three pots United are playing for this season.

On Wednesday night the Red Devils host West Ham in the fifth round of the FA Cup and, last week, they got past Barcelona to reach the last 16 of the Europa League.

The title is not beyond the bounds of possibility either. The gap to leaders Arsenal is eight points with 14 games to go.

Maguire said: “Coming back from the World Cup, we have started to play really well.

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“It’s going to be tough to win all four but, while we are in them, we go into every game trying to win it.”

Playing or not, the club captain wants that as much as anyone.

No one is going to spoil Harry Maguire's Carabao Cup joy


No one is going to spoil Harry Maguire’s Carabao Cup joyCredit: Getty

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