With many senior Manchester United stars yet to rejoin pre-season training on account of being involved with their national teams, manager Erik ten Hag is banking on youth in both pre-season friendlies ahead of their pre-season tour to America.
The senior stars are expected to start training on Saturday but the manager has already hinted that they will not be a part of the second friendly game against Olympique Lyon at Edinburgh on Wednesday.
After using mostly academy graduates during the comfortable 2-0 victory over Leeds United in Oslo last week, Ten Hag is expected to use the same ploy against the Ligue 1 side.
Academy stars shone vs Leeds
In fact against Leeds, it was the second-half XI composed entirely of academy stars that scored both the goals and one player who was instrumental during that 45 minutes was Norway’s very own Isak Hansen-Aarøen.
The 18-year-old’s perfect through ball was pounced on by Noam Emeran who made it 1-0. He also had nice touches throughout the game and it seems the United manager was impressed with what he saw.
“He did well, making a good pass for the first goal,” the United manager was quoted as saying by United NO. “He’s really comfortable on the ball; he has good vision and good scanning.
“Of course he’s a young player, he has some deficits he needs to work on, which we will show him and tell him (about) and we will work with him to improve him.”
🚨🎙️Ten Hag on Isak Hansen-Aarøen:
“He did well, making a good pass for the first goal. He’s really comfortable on the ball; he has good vision and good scanning. Of course he’s a young player, he has some deficits he needs to work on, which we will show him and tell him and we…
— UtdPlug (@UtdPlug) July 13, 2023
The Peoples Person had already reported in the past that Ten Hag wants to give the Norwegian a chance during pre-season and so far it seems that is the case.
But once all the senior stars are ready for action, Ten Hag will have to cull his squad and name a new one ahead of the US tour.
That will not have the same number of academy graduates and only those who the manager thinks can make an impact alongside the more experienced professionals.
Isak Hansen-Aarøen expected to feature more during pre-season
Ten Hag did not explicitly mention whether the Norway U-19 international will be part of the tour squad but did mention that he is happy with what he has seen during training so far.
“I can’t tell you now whether he will play the rest of the pre-season with us. We are one week away (from the US tour), and other young kids are doing very well, so I’m really pleased with our first week of work.”
A lot of academy stars are expected to go out on loan this season due to the competition for places in the squad.
It will be difficult for Hansen-Aarøen to break into the first team squad as he is most adept as the roaming attacking playmaker and United already have the likes of Bruno Fernandes and Mason Mount in their ranks.