Four Manchester United players must establish their worth to Erik ten Hag’s rebuilding project
This summer, Manchester United will travel to the United States for the first time in five years for pre-season training.
Manchester United will be hoping for a successful finish to the season and more silverware for the trophy cabinet, but the focus is already on the summer and what lies ahead.
Erik ten Hag has already proven that he is capable of restoring United’s dominance, having won the Carabao Cup this season, and the FA Cup and Europa League remain realistic ambitions. Nonetheless, United will be looking for a striker and a central midfielder to improve their ranks ahead of the 2023-24 season.
It means some squad reshuffling is unavoidable, and there are a number of players on the outskirts of things at Old Trafford who will want to be a part of the reconstruction. Chances to assert their claim may be limited in the coming weeks as United fights on three fronts, but the summer trip to the United States will provide players with an opportunity to do so. It’s a make-or-break summer for the four United players listed below.
If the injury-plagued forward is to have a future at Old Trafford, he must overcome the naysayers. With United justifiably prioritizing the recruitment of another striker this summer, Martial’s next few months will be crucial. Due to numerous injuries, the forward has only made 14 appearances for Erik ten Hag this season.
Frustratingly, he has displayed his ability in bursts, looked sharp in pre-season, and had a respectable record in the first part of the season despite injury concerns. But, he appears to be in need of a great end to the season if he can recover his health in order to convince United that he deserves to be a part of things come the summer rather than being sold to fund transfer goals.
Donny van de Beek
The 25-year-old was also a fixture in Ten Hag’s first United pre-season, appearing in all six games and even taking part in one of two friendlies following the World Cup late last year. His season has been cut short due to injury, and he will not return until pre-season.
That will be a watershed moment for the Netherlands international. He still has two years left on his contract and will look to impress a boss who knows him well from their time together at Ajax. When in their home Holland, Van de Beek played more than 100 times for the current United boss.
The midfielder has been linked with a transfer elsewhere and might be left out if Manchester United make a summer move for a Jude Bellingham or Frenkie de Jong. Casemiro’s signing last summer pushed McTominay down the pecking order, and the Scotland international is now competing for a starting berth with Fred and Christian Eriksen. Marcel Sabitzer has also joined on loan from Bayern Munich, while McTominay has been restricted to being a squad player this season.
He’s still made 32 starts across all competitions and has the defensive awareness necessary at times. But it remains to be seen whether he has a long-term future with United, and his summer performances could help to determine that.
Aaron Wan Bissaka
The former Crystal Palace man seemed to be on his way out of Old Trafford at one point, but he’s made something of a comeback during the World Cup break. He demonstrated his ability in the derby triumph over Manchester City, the two games against Barcelona, and when introduced at halftime during United’s Carabao Cup win over Newcastle United.