Manchester United captain Harry Maguire is “positive” he’ll be fit for the Europa League final on May 26, according to manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Maguire sustained an ankle injury against Aston Villa last week that ruled him out of important clashes with Leicester City and Liverpool. The team suffered defensively in his absence, conceding six goals in those two games and losing both.
United are now sweating over whether their skipper will recover in time for the Europa League showdown with Villarreal, as Solskjaer looks to lift his first trophy as United boss.
Speaking to the club website, the Norwegian revealed he had spoken to Maguire on Sunday morning, and was left with the impression that the captain was confident he’d be available.
“He’s making progress,” Solskjaer said.
“Hopefully we can have good news early, but I’ll give Harry as long as it takes, because of course he has shown his importance.
“But hopefully he’ll speed up the recovery and be ready for the final, but I’ll give him as long as he needs, until he says ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
“We’ve known it [his importance] all along, of course. But maybe some people open their eyes when he’s not playing! I certainly felt I became a very, very good player when I was injured. People suddenly realised what I could do as a sub, or as a player.
“Harry’s been our leader, he’s a captain. Ever since he’s come in he’s been more or less ever-present, so of course he’s a big miss at the moment.
“When I spoke to him this morning he was quite positive but, naturally, the day after it happened we were all down. We saw early on or we decided that we have to focus, have to be positive, and think that you’re gonna make it until you have to say ‘no’.
“But we’ve consciously taken the route of not testing him out too early, too quickly, because we don’t want to aggravate something. He wants this so much, so he doesn’t want to take any risks, either.
“I’ve always been an optimist, so we’re positive.”