Manchester United are still deciding whether to keep Zidane Iqbal or send him on loan ahead of the January transfer window.
Iqbal currently finds himself in a dilemma.
While he has been training with the first team, he is still yet to make an appearance this season. Erik ten Hag has not yet given the academy graduate his opportunity.
By virtue of the fact that he has mostly been training with the senior players, Iqbal has not been able to feature more frequently for the Under-21s.
An example of his predicament came when his participation in the youth team’s game against Fleetwood Town was put off.
The 19-year-old played in the EFL Trophy games against League Two teams Carlisle and Barrow but was not made available against Fleetwood as Ten Hag needed him as cover for Christian Eriksen who was ill against Tottenham.
Eriksen recovered which rendered Iqbal an unused commodity as he did not make the bench.
United’s reluctance to send Iqbal out on loan stems from the fact that it is felt within the club that the midfield lacks a youthful presence.
The Manchester Evening News reports, “There is some concern Iqbal has only played in five of the U21s’ 16 games and he may not figure in the round-of-16 EFL Trophy tie against Bolton Wanderers later this month due to first-team commitments.”
“Staff at United believe it is beneficial for Iqbal to train with the first team for the rest of the season and then potentially embark on a season-long loan in the summer.”
It would be hard to argue against United’s assessment that a loan move will work in the best interests of Iqbal.
Despite being the breakout star of pre-season, his opportunities seem extremely limited, with Ten Hag deploying the strongest teams even in cup competitions and in the Europa League.