Man Utd’s seven World Cup exiles who can wow Erik ten Hag in Cadiz and Betis friendlies | Football | Sport


After Sunday’s 2-1 Premier League win at Fulham, Manchester United’s players will have linked up with their respective national teams with a spring in their step on Monday. The Red Devils have 16 representatives at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, but several of Erik ten Hag’s squad have faced exclusion.

With a six-week break upon him, Ten Hag will likely have a short break after a hectic first-third of his maiden season in charge. However, he’ll be itching to use the majority of the period before United’s next game to drill down his philosophy further on the training pitch and in two December friendlies against Cadiz CF and Real Betis.

Ten Hag will take plenty of youth players to the Spain training camp, with the prospect of handing them minutes against the La Liga opposition. But Express Sport pinpoints seven first-team World Cup exiles who have the opportunity to impress the United boss while many of his regular starters are out of the picture.

David de Gea

Spain boss Luis Enrique sensationally snubbed David de Gea due to continued reservations over the goalkeeper’s fit for his system. And amid United exit rumours for the same reason, he needs to use the break to develop with the ball at his feet further to keep his No 1 shirt beyond next summer.

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Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Aaron Wan-Bissaka is thought to have one foot out of the exit door already ahead of the January transfer window. But if he wants the chance to fight for his United future while Diogo Dalot is absent, he won’t get a better opportunity than over the next six weeks.

Brandon Williams

Brandon Williams is yet to feature under Ten Hag due to injury, but the Dutchman has confirmed he will be in the squad that travels to Spain. The 22-year-old will be eager to prove that he can act as Dalot’s understudy for the remainder of the season and could use the two friendlies to build up his sharpness.

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Donny van de Beek

Louis van Gaal ignoring Donny van de Beek in his Netherlands squad was no surprise, given his lack of game time this season. And after making little impact when handed three successive starts this month, it feels like it’s time to sink or swim if he’s going to make it at United.

Jadon Sancho

After a promising start to the campaign, Jadon Sancho has predominantly underwhelmed under Ten Hag and is now at risk of slipping further down the pecking order after Alejandro Garnacho’s emergence. He will hope to recover from illness and start the fight to regain his place in time for that Carabao Cup game against Burnley on December 21.

Alejandro Garnacho

Garnacho is riding a wave of unstoppable momentum after a series of stunning displays off the United bench, capped off by his last-gasp winner at Fulham. He is pushing to become a regular starter and will be excited to return to Spain for the first time since leaving Atletico Madrid to join United’s academy.

Anthony Martial

Anthony Martial was unfortunate to miss out on the France squad after frustrating injury issues this term have overshadowed his consistent contributions when fit. But he can use the next six weeks to cement his place as Ten Hag’s first-choice striker, with Cristiano Ronaldo unlikely to feature for the club again.

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