In-form FC Sheriff Tiraspol’s Nigerian striker, Rasheed Akanbi, has pleaded with Manchester United coach, Erik ten Hag, to start their captain Harry Maguire in Thursday’s Europa League clash at the Zimbru Stadium, PUNCH Sports Extra reports.
Maguire has struggled to live up to his £80m price tag since joining United from Leicester City in 2019.
The England defender has also been forced to watch from the sidelines after being relegated to the bench after back-to-back defeats in Manchester United’s opening two games this season against Brighton and Brentford.
The Red Devils also went down 1-0 to Real Sociedad on match-day one, while Sheriff Tiraspol ran out convincing 3-0 winners over Omonia Nicosia.
Akanbi, as well as countryman Iyayi Atiemwen, and Mouhamed Diop were all on target as Stjepan Tomas’s side quickly surged to the top of the rankings in Group E after matchday one.
Speaking ahead of the game, Akanbi said he was looking forward to playing against the former Hull City defender.
“I am looking forward to playing against Antony, Ronaldo, Rashford and especially Maguire, “Akanbi told a press conference on Wednesday.
“The game against Manchester United is good for us. It’s good for FC Sheriff that we have tough opponents like this and we are going to do our best because I always believe in everybody.
“Like tomorrow (today) we play against Manchester United, that is one of the teams I want to play against.
“As for the players, I want to play against Lionel Messi, I want to play against a lot of players but I want to play against Messi, Neymar, Mbappe.
“I want to play against Verratti as well.”
Meanwhile, Sheriff and Manchester United have never done battle in a competitive fixture before, and Thursday’s (today) tie will mark the hosts’ third game versus English opposition after suffering a pair of 2-0 and 2-1 losses to Tottenham Hotspur in the 2013/14 Europa League group stage.