Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag met the media today, ahead of tomorrow night’s UEFA Europa League clash against FC Sheriff. The Dutchman gave a status update on three key players: central defender supreme Raphael Varane, forward Cristiano Ronaldo and the egregiously overpaid flop that is Harry Maguire.
Let’s dive right in, starting with CR7, who is now back in favor, after having been dropped at the weekend due to his walk out last week.
Manchester United vs FC Sheriff FYIs
Kickoff: Thurs Oct 27, 8pm, Old Trafford
Competition: UEFA Europa League Group Stages Group E Matchday 5 of 6
“Cristiano will be in the squad,” Ten Hag told his presser.
“I think we said everything and we answered all the questions. He was out for one game and is back in the squad as usual. We explained everything and we have to focus on the game tomorrow. We have an important game because we want to be number one in the group. It’s done, he’s back and the focus is on the game. It’s important that Cristiano is involved in the squad tomorrow.”
Varane will not play for United again until after the World Cup, so the earliest we might see him again could be on Boxing Day.
It looks like his World Cup participation, for France in Qatar, is now in serious doubt. Said Ten Hag:
“He will certainly be out until the World Cup, so we will not play in this block for Man United. We have to wait and see how it develops [ahead of the World Cup], how his rehab develops.”
Finally, Maguire, who hasn’t played since suffering a thigh injury during the international break in September. He’s returned to training now and could feature here, as nowadays, he should be limited only to cup competition.
“He always has an important role,” Ten Hag said of Slab head.
“It’s always about performance, about presentation, and I think regarding his qualities, when he’s acting like that, no problem. He’s a great player with great capabilities to do a job for us.”
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.”
He has regularly appeared in WGN, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune, and he co-hosts the After Extra Time podcast, part of Edge of the Crowd Network. Follow him and the website on Twitter and Instagram.Follow paulmbanks