Manchester United striker Wout Weghorst has divulged that his stint as an auxiliary attacking midfielder came about after a private talk with Erik ten Hag.
Weghorst also indicated that Anthony Martial‘s struggles to remain fit have been a big part of why he is a regular starter under Ten Hag.
Since Weghorst joined United in January on loan from Besiktas, he has started all 18 games including the Carabao Cup final against Newcastle at Wembley.
Weghorst has largely been unchallenged in his quest to retain a starting berth with Martial sidelined with a nagging injury since he joined the club.
In an interview, Weghorst disclosed details of a private conversation he held with his compatriot in which the Dutch coach informed him that he wants all positions across the pitch to be covered with sufficient options.
Weghorst said, “All Ten Hag said was that he needed a striker who could fit into his way of playing. He certainly did not paint the picture as it is now.
“Anthony Martial was his striker and he was doing fine – but he is injury-prone and the manager wanted all positions double-staffed.
“That’s what I came for. But Ten Hag did say clearly ‘It is up to you. You can force things and the best one plays.’ My dream has always been to get the most out of my career. To tap my ceiling. It makes me incredibly proud and happy.”
The 6ft 6in forward expressed his pride at his incredible fitness levels, brought about by mental resilience and fortitude.
“My physique is like a house and has been all through my career. But I have never had an injury and never even had to miss a single match.
“It’s bizarre, really. What I always say: a lot is also determined in the head. At this level, you can no longer start every game fully recovered.”
The 30-year-old shed light on his versatility which has seen him even feature in the playmaker role.
Weghorst revealed that Ten Hag dished out these instructions at half-time during the Fulham game before warning him that he had to do his fair share of defensive duties – something Weghorst had no problem complying with.
The Netherlands international however admitted that his lack of goals is a personal concern for him. He only has two in a United shirt. He scored his first against Nottingham Forest and the second against Real Betis at Old Trafford.
Weghorst added that while he is enjoying his time with the Red Devils, he is conscious that he will be solely judged on how many times he finds the back of the net.
On life at United, the loanee conveyed, “You only experience how big United is when you are part of it. This is an absolute top club, with all the attention from the outside.
“You have to find a way to deal with it, but I manage to be myself even in this environment.”
Weghorst’s loan spell at the club expires at the end of the season. It’s a well-known fact that United are on the hunt for a world-class striker.
There has been no clear indication that Weghorst will be retained beyond the end of the current term. Where his immediate future lies is likely to become clearer as the campaign’s end draws closer.
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