The season run-in is finally here and Manchester United have the chance to cement their place in the top four of the Premier League and add to their trophy cabinet.
The Red Devils are currently fourth in the league standings following their disappointing draw against Tottenham Hotspur, two points behind third-placed Newcastle and six ahead of fifth-placed Spurs and Aston Villa, whom they face next.
Along with the race to secure Champions League qualification, the 20-time English league champions also have the FA Cup final to contend with and a chance to stop Manchester City from completing the infamous Treble.
Garnacho will not be released for U-20 WC
It is no surprise that manager Erik ten Hag has been so insistent on not releasing Alejandro Garnacho for the upcoming U-20 World Cup to be held in Argentina.
The academy graduate who recently signed a new contract and is nearing a return to first team action has become one of the most important attacking weapons in the Dutchman’s arsenal.
Recent disappointments where the side have blown their two-goal advantage (Sevilla, Spurs) have been mainly down to the manager’s weak substitutions.
It is not an attack on the former Ajax coach as the likes of Wout Weghorst, Fred, Anthony Martial and Anthony Elanga are not as fearless as the Argentine and hence the manager wants to keep him for the season finale.
الاتحاد العراقي لكرة القدم لا زال بانتظار رد نادي مانشستر يونايتد الإنجليزي للسماح للاعب زيدان إقبال بالتواجد مع منتخب الشباب في نهائيات كأس العالم في الأرجنتين الشهر المقبل.
المدرب تن هاغ رفض تواجد اللاعب في المونديال ، رغم رغبة اللاعب بالمشاركة في البطولة. pic.twitter.com/M3sMVj7WjG
— علي نوري (@Ali_nori2000) April 27, 2023
It is not only Garnacho who has been named as part of the U-20 World Cup squad. Iraq have called up another United academy star — Zidane Iqbal for the tournament.
It was thought that the 20-year-old would be utilised by Ten Hag over the course of the season after he impressed during pre-season and was denied a loan exit in January.
Unfortunately, Ten Hag has not given Iqbal a single minute of action so far this season but has named him in the matchday squad for a total of 17 times.
According to Iraqi journalist Ali Nouri, the Dutch manager will not allow Iqbal to take part, despite his lack of minutes for United and his wish to participate in the competition.
Zidane Iqbal has met with same response
“The Iraqi Football Association is still awaiting Manchester United’s response to allow Zidane Iqbal to be with the youth team at the World Cup finals in Argentina next month.
“Coach Ten Hag refused the player’s presence in the World Cup, despite the player’s desire to participate in the tournament,” the journalist tweeted.
This could be a sign that the manager does not want to lose squad options at this crucial stage of the Premier League and is waiting for the team to secure a top-four finish.
Once secured, Ten Hag might even hand the Iraq international some much-needed game time so that his main players do not sustain any injury ahead of the FA Cup final.
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