Manchester United captain Harry Maguire remained sidelined for the squad’s final training session ahead of the Europa League final against Villarreal, making it increasingly likely that he has lost his race against time to be fit for the game.
Maguire has not played since limping out of the Premier League win over Aston Villa earlier this month with ankle ligament damage. He was then seen at United’s next game against Leicester two days later on crutches and has been unable to return to training.
The influential centre-back was named in the travelling squad in the hope that he would be fit, as well as allowing him to still fulfil his leadership role, but the final looks to have come too soon.
As the United squad began their final training session at Stadion Miejski in Gdansk just over 24 hours before kick-off on Wednesday, Maguire was by the side of the pitch watching on.
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had previously hinted that Tuesday’s training would be a defining moment in Maguire’s race to be fit. Speaking to the media before the session, the United boss said his captain would at least try to ‘jog up and down the sidelines’.
He won’t be definitively ruled out until an hour before kick-off when the team sheets are submitted in the hope that he can still make it. But at the very least the ongoing uncertainty about his involvement will keep Villarreal guessing because it could impact their game plan.
If Maguire cannot play, Solskjaer will have a choice between Eric Bailly and Axel Tuanzebe to partner Victor Lindelof. Tuanzebe played three of the final four games of the Premier League season in Maguire’s absence. Bailly played in two and they were partnered together in the final game against Wolves on Sunday when Lindelof was rested.