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Ten Hag could unleash“impressive” gem v West Ham, he’s not played for MUFC since 2021


Manchester United are riding the crest of a wave after a hugely pivotal last few days in their season, with Erik ten Hag’s side winning the Carabao Cup on Sunday evening after knocking La Liga giants Barcelona out of the Europa League in midweek.

While the Red Devils are still likely to have their sights set on competing for true, top honours in the coming years, this recent success has exposed the seachange that has occurred at the club since the Dutchman’s appointment, with it now looking like anything is possible amid whispers of a quadruple charge.

The hope is that Manchester United do not become complacent with a crucial FA Cup match against West Ham United coming up this evening, despite the hectic fixture schedule potentially leading to a change in personnel against David Moyes’ side, particularly ahead of Sunday’s trip to Anfield.

As a result, one player who could be given a well-deserved rest is the usual ever-present Bruno Fernandes, with the playmaking maestro possibly one figure that Ten Hag will be keen to manage, despite the Portugal international’s desire to play every week.

With the 28-year-old having already started 37 games in all competitions this season, there will be concerns about burnout with only a few months of the season remaining, hence the need to keep him out of the firing line as much as possible.

The only issue may be the lack of alternatives in that creative midfield berth – amid the loss of both Christian Eriksen and Donny van de Beek to injury – although one solution could be found in the form of promising youngster, Zidane Iqbal.

Will Iqbal make his debut against West Ham?
Although Ten Hag has largely avoided the temptation to rotate during his time in Manchester, tonight’s match at the Theatre of Dreams could be a rare occasion when the 53-year-old changes his mind, especially after such a crucial week of fixtures.

As a result, Iqbal could be one of the beneficiaries of those changes, as the 19-year-old gem is still awaiting his second senior appearance for the club, having made his first and only appearance in December 2021 under Ralf Rangnick.

That brief cameo appearance in the Champions League dead rubber against BSC Young Boys, in which fellow youngster Charlie Savage also made his debut for the club, appeared to be a sign of things to come for the Iraq international, but he has since been unable to kick on.

Despite making his mark on last summer’s pre-season tour, which BBC Sports’ Simon Stone described as “so impressive,” the teenager has remained on the fringes of the first team of late, sparking speculation that he could be looking for a loan exit in January.


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