The 7 Man Utd World Cup exiles who can surprise Erik ten Hag in friendlies
Following Sunday’s 2-1 Premier League win against Fulham, Manchester United players will have joined their respective national teams at a brisk pace on Monday. The Red Devils have 16 representatives at the 2022 Qatar World Cup, but several from Erik ten Hag’s side have faced exclusion.
With a six-week break, Ten Hag will likely get a short break after a rocky first third of his first season in charge. However, he will be keen to use the bulk of the time before United’s next game to delve into his philosophy at the training ground and in two December friendlies against Cádiz CF and Real Betis.
Ten Hag will bring many youth players to Spain’s training ground, with the prospect of giving them minutes against La Liga opposition. But express sport points to seven World Cup first-team exiles who have a chance to impress the United manager while many of their regular starters are out of the picture.
David De Gea
Spain boss Luis Enrique sensationally snubbed David de Gea due to continued reservations about the goalkeeper fitting for his system. And amid rumors of leaving United for the same reason, he needs to take advantage of the break to develop further with the ball at his feet and keep his number 1 shirt beyond next summer.
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Aaron Wan Bissaka
Aaron Wan-Bissaka is believed to already have one foot out the starting gate before the January transfer window. But if he wants a chance to fight for his future at United while Diogo Dalot is absent, he won’t have a better chance than in the next six weeks.
Brandon Williams has not yet been part of Ten Hag due to injury, but the Dutchman has confirmed that he will be in the team that travels to Spain. The 22-year-old will be keen to show that he can act as Dalot’s understudy for the rest of the season and could use the two friendlies to develop his sharpness.
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Donny van de Beek
Louis van Gaal ignoring Donny van de Beek in his Netherlands squad came as no surprise, given his lack of playing time this season. And after making little impact when he made three successive starts this month, it looks like it’s time to sink or swim if he wants to succeed at United.
After a promising start to the campaign, Jadon Sancho has predominantly been disappointed under Ten Hag and is now at risk of falling further down the pecking order after the rise of Alejandro Garnacho. He will hope to recover from illness and start the fight to win his place back in time for that Carabao Cup match against Burnley on December 21.
Garnacho is on a wave of unstoppable momentum after a series of impressive displays from the United bench, capped off by his last breath at Fulham. He is pushing to become a regular starter and will be excited to return to Spain for the first time since he left Atletico Madrid to join United’s academy.
Anthony Martial was unlucky enough to miss out on the France squad after frustrating injury problems this term overshadowed his consistent contributions when fit. But he can use the next six weeks to cement his place as Ten Hag’s first-choice striker, as Cristiano Ronaldo is unlikely to play for the club again.
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