It’s the eve of Manchester United’s final game before the World Cup break, and there is plenty of news to discuss. Manager Erik ten Hag’s weekly news conference provided a slew of soundbites that inform and edify, especially relating to Cristiano Ronaldo and Donny van de Beek. The 37-year-old superstar will head to Qatar with Portugal, as this will almost certainly be his final World Cup (ditto for Lionel Messi).
Donny van de Beek will not be headed to the Middle East, as he was did not make the cut for The Netherlands.
Manchester United vs Fulham FC FYIs
Kickoff: 4:30pm GMT, Sun. Nov 13, Craven Cottage
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Let’s start with him, as he’s started the last three games. Unfortunately, he hasn’t made the most of these opportunities, and actually, he really didn’t do much of anything special with the major minutes he was granted. Could DVDB go out on loan again in January? Ten Hag, who knows Van de Beek well from their time together at Ajax, dismissed the idea.
“A loan doesn’t make sense,” he said.
“Either he finds himself or he proves himself in this atmosphere or he goes [permanently], but for me there is still a way for him, but it is not going to be easy — the competition there is strong.”
So there you have it, he will not become another Dean Henderson, where he stays a part of the club but keeps going out on loan. It’s make or break for him at Old Trafford.
Moving on to Ronaldo, this will be his fifth World Cup, with his first group stage game coming up on Nov. 24 against Ghana. Ten Hag made it known that the diva won’t be given a day off tomorrow just because he’s a superstar.
“He was ill so he can recover from that,” Ten Hag responded to a query about whether or not CR7 will be in the team tomorrow.
“It is not a serious illness that takes days or weeks so he can be in the squad. The players are all aware of the importance of the game against Fulham and I will not take the World Cup in regard. We play the best team and until Sunday it is the interest of Manchester United and only that.”
So there you have it- if you’re a national team manager hoping to see Ten Hag rest your player(s), don’t bother. It sounds kind of like what Pep Guardiola said, when he don’t national team managers not to call him with this request.
Paul M. Banks is the Owner/Manager of The Sports Bank and author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” as well as “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”Follow paulmbanks