Rojo: Solskjaer only played Maguire because of money
Argentine defender Marcos Rojo revealed the details of conversations that he held with former Manchester United manager Ole-Gunnar Solskjaer about the performances of captain Harry Maguire in his time at the club. The central defender revealed his happiness at seeing compatriot Lisandro Martinez excel at the club in his debut season in an interview with Argentine media TyC Sports.
Martinez moved to Old Trafford from Ajax along with manager Erik Ten Hag in the summer and has overcome early doubts to distinguish himself as one of the best central defenders in the league. He featured 45 times for the Red Devils in his debut season before suffering a season-ending metatarsal fracture in their 2-2 draw against Sevilla in the UEFA Europa League. To play him, the Dutch manager has decided to leave out captain Maguire several times, leaving the Englishman with a fringe role in the squad this season. For this, Rojo is satisfied with the manager and club.
Rojo joined the club in 2014 from Sporting Lisbon and established himself as an important player for the side under the tutelage of Louis Van Gaal and Jose Mourinho, playing a pivotal role for both managers. A run of injuries blighted his development and coincided with the appointment of Solskjaer on an initial interim basis in December 2018. The Norwegian manager was said to have given the defender assurances of ample playing time, but Rojo only took to the pitch once in the Premier League before leaving the club on loan in January 2020 to join Estudiantes.
Rojo revealed that he had confronted the manager on his need to play more often, but was told that he had no option but to play English defender Maguire, who had joined the club in August 2019 for a fee of 80 million Pounds from Leicester City. The Englishman was named captain within six months of his arrival at the club, and Rojo’s revelation makes it seem like his price tag may have contributed to that, too.
“In 2019 I was very good in England. I was playing in the Europa League but I was very angry with the coach because he was putting Maguire in the team instead of me. Thank God they have taken him out now and Licha [Lisandro] Martinez is playing.”
‘One day I went to Solskjaer’s office to tell him to let me leave for another club or put me in the starting line-up. I said it was wrong that I wasn’t playing. But he told me that Maguire had to play regardless because they had paid so much money for him.’
‘He was making huge mistakes every week already and I told Solskjaer: “Son of a b****, let me play because this guy is making huge mistakes every week.”‘
Since Martinez emerged at the club, Maguire has played only 13 league matches this season for the Red Devils. In the Argentine’s absence, the captain managed to play an active role in costing his side their Europa League status with an error in their defeat to Sevilla in addition to a first-leg own goal.
Maguire may be on his way out of the club this summer with a number of suitors rumoured to be interested in his services.