Harry Maguire 'back soon' but Manchester United expected to be without captain and Raphael Varane against Leicester

Raphael Varane is out for matches against Leicester, Atalanta and Liverpool; Harry Maguire hopes to be "back on the pitch soon" but United may have to play all three games without both first-choice centre-backs; Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side go to Leicester on Saturday

Raphael Varane hopes to form a strong partnership with Harry Maguire
Image: Injuries to Raphael Varane and Harry Maguire leave Manchester United in a muddle

Manchester United's Harry Maguire is yet to return to full training as he recovers from injury and is expected to miss Saturday's match against Leicester.

The centre-back has missed United's last two games with a calf injury, and was unavailable for England's World Cup qualifiers against Andorra and Hungary.

And although Maguire expects to be back in training soon, his ongoing absence is a headache for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who is also without his other first-choice centre-back, Raphael Varane, for the next few weeks.

Varane suffered a groin problem on international duty with France and will miss the upcoming games against Leicester, Atalanta and Liverpool.

There is no time frame on Maguire's return, but United will be hoping to have their captain back quickly given those matches fall within the space of eight days.

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The 28-year-old told the club's website: "It's getting there. I still haven't trained yet with the squad, but I am getting better, I am progressing as I should be.

"It is obviously a frustrating injury for me to get, but I am progressing, and I will be back on the pitch soon."

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Who fills in for Maguire and Varane?

Eric Bailly, Victor Lindelof
Image: Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly could be United's starting centre-backs for matches against Leicester, Atalanta and Liverpool

Solskjaer is already up against it after overseeing three defeats in United's previous six matches, with the team most recently drawing 1-1 to Everton at Old Trafford before the international break.

He now enters the toughest period of United's season without his two first-choice centre-backs.

Victor Lindelof has been Solskjaer's preferred back-up in the heart of defence, making seven appearances so far this campaign, and is set to be heavily relied on by his manager over the coming weeks.

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Eric Bailly has only been used once this season, playing from the start in United's 1-0 home defeat to West Ham in the Carabao Cup third-round last month, but is the obvious choice to partner Lindelof in the absence of Maguire and Varane.

Solskjaer has been keen to rotate his players this season, so could end up using Phil Jones as he contends with a busy schedule of domestic and European commitments.

Jones trained throughout the international break, stepping up his recovery from a long-term injury.

Alternatively, Solskjaer could give minutes to teenager Teden Mengi, who impressed last season on loan at Derby with Wayne Rooney, if Jones is not yet able to make a full return after almost two years on the sidelines.

Mengi had initially been called up by England's U20s for the international break, but was given a boost after being drafted in to train with the senior side by manager Gareth Southgate.

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