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captain's call Harry Maguire's last push to play in Europa League final appears to be over

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 Unai Emery will go head to head with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the Europa League final (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Unai Emery will go head to head with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the Europa League final (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Unai Emery will go head to head with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the Europa League final (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Harry Maguire sat out training on the eve of the Europa League final as faint hopes of the Manchester United captain leading the side out against Villarreal were all but extinguished.

The 28-year-old centre-back sustained ankle ligament damage 16 days ago when Aston Villa’s Anwar El Ghazi awkwardly landed on him.

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had initially been upbeat about Maguire returning to skipper the side in Wednesday’s final in Gdansk, only for that positivity to wane last week despite the defender coming off his crutches.

But the centre-back’s place in the 26-man squad travelling to Poland provided renewed hope, so too Solskjaer’s suggestion he would make a late bid to be involved against Villarreal.

“Harry is just going to jog up and down the sideline, I reckon,” the United boss said in his pre-match press conference.

“He’ll probably try to join in (training) a little, but apart from that we’re looking quite good.”

Yet within an hour it was clear that Maguire would be taking no part in Tuesday’s session.

The defender, who was named in England’s provisional 33-man squad for the European Championship earlier in the day, headed to the dugout rather than the pitch as his team-mates started training.

Solskjaer went over to him 15 minutes into the session, before the United boss returned to the main group as a forlorn Maguire watched on.

Anthony Martial and Phil Jones did not travel with the squad to Poland due to injury, with the Norwegian facing some big selection decisions, including whether to start David De Gea or Dean Henderson in goal.

“It’s always difficult to leave players out, but it’s throughout the whole season,” Solskjaer said.

“A final is a reward for what you’ve done the whole season, then if there’s a doubt between a couple it’s the form in the latter stages, of course.

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“But we’ll enjoy the last session and the players will get the team tomorrow.”The 28-year-old sustained ankle ligament damage at Aston Villa 16 days ago and was using crutches until last week.

Solskjaer included Maguire in the squad heading to Gdansk, where United take on Villarreal in Wednesday’s final.

“We’ve prepared well,” United boss Solskjaer said. “Anthony (Martial) didn’t make it, Phil (Jones) of course didn’t make it and Harry is just going to jog up and down the sideline, I reckon.

“He’ll probably try to join in (training) a little but apart from that we’re looking quite good.”

The decision on Maguire may be taken out of Solskjaer’s hands, but he has some other big decisions to mull over such as whether to start David De Gea or Dean Henderson between the sticks.

“It’s always difficult to leave players out but it’s throughout the whole season,” the United boss said.

“A final is a reward for what you’ve done the whole season, then if there’s a doubt between a couple it’s the form in the latter stages, of course.

“But we’ll enjoy the last session and the players will get the team tomorrow.”

Solskjaer is looking to lead United to glory 22 years to the day since he struck to complete the treble with a last-gasp winner against Bayern Munich in the Champions League final.

Sir Alex Ferguson was in the hotseat that night and travelled with the squad to Poland, while May 26 is also the birthday of the late, great Sir Matt Busby.

“We have five wins in Europe, we’ve lost twice to Barcelona,” added Solskjaer.

“These are big nights for us. It might be the stepping stone for something better to come, a bright future because this team is a young team.

“It’s a team that we’ve rebuilt over the last couple of years, so hopefully this is the start of something more.

“Of course Sir Alex is with us, we know the 26th of May is Sir Matt’s birthday but the players when they sign for Man United, they sign to win trophies.

“They accept the challenge of being the best because this is the best club in the world, so that’s the pleasure of the pressure of Man United.

“That’s something they are ready for because they wouldn’t have signed here if they weren’t top players.”

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