The defender had to be called back in order to perform the coin toss, an inauspicious start to his first match wearing the United captain’s armband
Harry Maguire was honoured to captain Manchester United for the first time in their 1-0 Europa League win over Partizan Belgrade, while laughing off a moment of confusion over the pre-match coin toss.
The £80 million defender was given the armband for Thursday’s clash in the absence of Ashley Young and back-up skipper David de Gea.
Anthony Martial’s penalty just before half-time was enough for United to pick up their first away win in 12 matches in all competitions, moving them top of Group L.
United were once again far from convincing on their travels, but Maguire was pleased to come away with a third successive Europa League clean sheet on what was a personal occasion to remember.
“It’s a massive honour to lead the team out, especially such a big club like United,” he told BT Sport. “I’m really proud, but more importantly I’m happy we got the clean sheet and the three points.
“It was really important to get the away win – it’s been a long time coming. We weren’t at our best and it was scrappy at times, but we always knew our first away win would be one we had to grind out.”
A clip of Maguire apparently forgetting his pre-match duties went viral, as the stand-in captain left Vladimir Stojkovic waiting, but he later laughed off the blunder on Twitter.
“Last time I did this, you did the coin toss in the centre circle #LetMeOff,” Maguire posted, accompanied by a laughing face emoji.
CAPTAIN. LEADER. WHAT THE F*CK IS GOING ON?
Harry Maguire looks lost 😂pic.twitter.com/0obV2HDA8n
— Goal (@goal) October 24, 2019
— Harry Maguire (@HarryMaguire93) October 24, 2019
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer handed a full debut to James Garner and also started with fellow academy product Brandon Williams at left-wing-back.
Centre-back Phil Jones, one of the more experienced players on the field for United at 27 years old, was full of praise for the younger members of United’s squad.
“I thought the pair of them were absolutely terrific,” he said.
“It’s a hostile environment and the pitch wasn’t the best – the pair of them can be really proud of themselves. They were a big reason why we came away with a clean sheet.”