Manchester United's right wing woes
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Manchester United’s Right Wing Woes

Manchester United’s right wing and the football club have had a rough start to the season that has seen them make headlines for all the wrong reasons, both on and off the pitch. After a promising debut season for Ten Hag, the start of his sophomore season couldn’t go any worse: two defeats and FOUR official club statements. It reached a point where ‘Statement FC’ was trending on X.

One of the many concerns is Manchester United’s right wing issues. We are only four game weeks in, and the Red Devils are struggling to field a natural at that position. The gaffer walked into the season reasonably pleased with his team’s attacking depth. On the right wing, Manchester United had Antony (his preferred choice), Sancho, Pellistri, Diallo and even Greenwood.

Manchester United's Right Wing issue worsened by Greenwood's departure

Houston, we have no wingers

More club statements may follow that say otherwise, but reading between the lines, you can understand Richard Arnold, CEO, and Co. were very close to incorporating Greenwood into the plan, which can be assumed has been communicated to Erik and his coaching staff. Following several twists and turns, Mason Greenwood has been loaned out and is now preparing to make his debut for Getafe on the weekend. Amad Diallo, unfortunately, picked up an injury during the preseason that will rule him out for half the season. Adding a period for recovery and building match fitness, it is unlikely that the Ivorian will build on his impressive loan campaign at Sunderland by starting games for the Red Devils.

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Antony has agreed to an indefinite leave of absence from his club following abuse allegations. When Ten Hag was asked how long Antony would be out for, he said he had no idea. Jadon Sancho, his likely replacement, deemed this period ideal to publicly speak against his manager after the latter called out the former’s shortfall in training performances. An official statement ensued, mentioning he will be discarded from the first team group for the foreseeable future until he backs down and apologises for his actions. At his press conference, the manager refused to refer to Jadon Sancho by name. Ten Hag even said he inherited a “no-good culture” at MUFC when he took over.        

Pellistri could be Manchester United's right wing saviour

Moving Forward?

It leaves Facundo Pellistri as the only natural right winger on the roster available for selection. He is the least tried under Ten Hag and previous managers. Since he signed for Manchester United in 2020, he has had twice the number of appearances for the Uruguay National team compared to his club appearances. During his cameos of the bench, he has shown promise with his direct approach, which is lacking in both Antony and Sancho. He could signify that the club has moved forward from its previous options. However, there are rumours the Uruguayan hasn’t ‘moved’ the gaffer enough to start come Saturday against Brighton. United may opt for Højlund and Rashford to start up top with four midfielders behind them. However, Bruno, the captain, vacating his central position to Manchester United’s right wing, as he has done on a few occasions, is the most likely solution to which the Dutch gaffer will reach.

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Ten Hag pondering

You sometimes have setbacks in seasons, players are injured or for other reasons are not available, so you construct a squad, and the squad is very good and the players who are available and motivated to give a good performance.

Erik Ten Hag about his right wing dilemma, Sept. 15, 2023

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