Home » Manchester United lack quality substitutes

Manchester United lack quality substitutes

Sunday's match proved that Ten Hag needs more quality on the bench

by Ayantan Chowdhury

Manchester United officially ended their pre-season engagements with a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Rayo Vallecano at Old Trafford.

Erik ten Hag had already decided to use the fixture to give minutes to senior players who have not had too many opportunities prior to Sunday as well as take a look at how the youth products are shaping up ahead of the start of the Premier League.

The Dutchman has a pretty good idea about his preferred first XI with the front four almost choosing itself. But the home fixture was a chance for the manager to figure out the which players can make an impact from the bench.

The brightest spark in the drawn encounter was the presence of Alejandro Garnacho on the left wing. Fans have remained perplexed as to why the young Argentine was not used by the new United manager in previous games.

The 18-year-old’s all action display included skills, flicks, an eye for a pass as well as tracking back when needed. He showed plenty of confidence as he took on his man at every given opportunity and his ability to go both ways pleased onlookers no end.

Anthony Elanga‘s chances of playing on his preferred left wing took a huge hit as Ten Hag was seen patting Garnacho when he was subbed off.

In terms of goalscorers, Amad Diallo did well to grab a goal but with the manager opting to start Tahith Chong on the right wing, it seems another loan spell might be on the cards.

Varane needs more time

Donny van de Beek showed a few neat touches but he is not going to be starter judging by his displays on tour. And someone else who needs to find rhythm is Raphael Varane.

The French World Cup winner had said in the past that a proper pre-season would help him rediscover his old form but that has not been forthcoming so far.

An injury meant his preparations took a hit once again and he looked rusty alongside an assured Lisandro Martinez. The Frenchman started on the right and might indicate Ten Hag’s preference to rotate skipper Harry Maguire with Varane once the season kicks off.

Christian Eriksen was his usual classy self but he still needs to catch up on match sharpness and general fitness and it is likely that the former Ajax coach opts for the settled partnership of Fred and Scott McTominay in the centre of the park against Brighton.

James Garner‘s fruitful loan stint last season meant he was tipped to breakthrough into the first team squad finally this season and despite impressing in patches, Garner might once again need to go out on loan, especially if United add Frenkie de Jong or some other midfielder.

Ten Hag’s biggest worry at this stage is the new five substitutions rule which will benefit the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool but not his team as they are short of squad depth in multiple positions.

Most of the youngsters like Zidane Iqbal and Ethan Laird played well but United need more quality options especially ahead of such a gruelling season and on the basis of Sunday’s evidence, there are but a few players Ten Hag can turn to at the moment when the chips are down.

Latest Top Stories...