Erik ten Hag might face an odd selection quandary when Manchester United takes on Brighton.

The United manager may suddenly have an abundance of choices to choose from in the midfield, which has been a continual source of worry.

Erik ten Hag might have easily thought of his midfield as the unfixable problem after 15 months in command at Manchester United.

The Dutchman took over for Ralf Rangnick at the beginning of last summer and was given a double pivot of Fred and Scott McTominay. Despite having his eye on Frenkie de Jong early on, he was unable to complete a move. Although Casemiro and Christian Eriksen did make their debuts, last season’s lack of depth behind them was a problem.

In order to address the midfield issue, Ten Hag spent £55 million on Mason Mount at the beginning of this summer. However, the former Chelsea player hasn’t been in great shape lately and has missed the last two games due to injury.

United completed a season-long loan agreement for Sofyan Amrabat on the final day. The midfielder joined up with his Moroccan colleagues for the international break even though he wasn’t registered in time to play Arsenal. However, he later withdrew owing to an injury. I imagine Ten Hag is hating his luck.

Amrabat might be required by United to help them with their worst flaw.

This summer, United spent a lot of money on the midfield with big expectations for the young Kobbie Mainoo. However, Ten Hag had no choice when he led his team to the Emirates last weekend and starting Casemiro, Christian Eriksen, and Bruno Fernandes.

Not that they are subpar—in fact, most fans still think they are United’s best trio—but Ten Hag intended to develop that part of the field, and so far he hasn’t succeeded in doing so. Fortunately for the Dutchman, Walid Regragui, the head coach of Morocco, claims that Amrabat’s fitness issue is not too serious and that his absence was merely a precaution. He might be ready to play against Brighton the following weekend.

Similar to how the week off from competition should give Mount time to finish his recovery and be back to match-ready. Mainoo may even be physically capable of competing.

Ten Hag may now encounter a new challenge when selecting his team to play the Seagulls: narrowing down a number of strong midfield alternatives. Managers always claim to enjoy having this headache, but Ten Hag hasn’t had it at United. Only injuries or suspensions resulted in changes during the Dutchman’s first season in charge.

Now that he has the luxury of making tactical changes, it is critical that he establishes balance in a midfield that has so far lacked it. Even though it’s still early, having Mount and Fernandes ahead of Casemiro can cause problems because the Brazilian is frequently left alone.

Undoubtedly, switching Mount for Amrabat would offer a more secure foundation, but concerns about whether that is overly defensive, particularly if used at home, would be raised. Mainoo might be able to provide a compromise, but the 18-year-old needs to play without the stress of being counted on.

Even placing Amrabat in the defensive position and letting him control the middle of the park alone would be a possibility to lessen some of the load on Casemiro. Fernandes is the only undroppable, although even he has occasionally been given wide accommodations.

Ten Hag will have to make this choice throughout the week, but given his desire for competitiveness, he will undoubtedly be happy to do so. From a clearly preferred trio to cramming six people into three, he has changed. Come Saturday, it will be interesting to watch how he handles it.









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