(Reuters) – Manchester United forwards Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial have returned to training ahead of Sunday’s derby against Manchester City but captain Harry Maguire will miss out through injury, manager Erik ten Hag said.
Rashford sat out United’s last two games, against Real Sociedad and Sheriff Tiraspol in the Europa League, with a muscle injury while Martial has only played 45 minutes this season due to hamstring and Achilles injuries.
“Harry Maguire is injured. For the rest, we have some doubts,” Ten Hag told reporters on Friday.
“With Anthony Martial, he was training all week with the group so I’m really happy with that situation. He’s performing really well in training, makes a good impression. Rashford returns into training so we are happy with that.”
Maguire picked up a knock during England’s 3-3 draw with Germany on Monday. The defender was dropped and did not start United’s last four games before the international break but Ten Hag was confident he could turn his form around.
“I have to back him. I back him because I believe in him,” Ten Hag said. “You see his career, almost 50 caps for England. For Leicester and Manchester United he’s performing really well. What you see is he has a high potential. Then it is about him.
“The players in the dressing room, the coaches, the manager, we all believe in him. That’s what I told him. I’m sure he can do it. He will turn around this. I am really convinced of that.”
Following defeats in his first two competitive games in charge, Ten Hag has since presided over four straight league wins. United’s winning run has seen them rise from the bottom of the table to fifth after six games.
Ten Hag was named the Premier League’s manager of the month for September earlier on Friday while Rashford won the players’ award, after scoring twice and registering two assists last month.
“It is for what we achieved as a group. We did it together and it tells us we are going in the right direction. But there is a lot of space to improve,” Ten Hag said.
United have not played a league game since beating Arsenal on Sept. 4, however, and face a hectic schedule of nine matches in October, starting with Sunday’s short trip to the Etihad Stadium to face Pep Guardiola’s City.
“I have played many derbies, I know it is the most important game,” Ten Hag said. “We are convinced of our capabilities. If we act as a team then we can beat our opponents. That is the belief we need, and we need it even more on Sunday.”
(Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)