The United manager will hope to have three of his starting midfielders back in the coming weeks, but that will only cause issues down in the pecking order.
Scott McTominay must have been sat on the Tottenham bench last month wondering why Manchester United rejected a £30million bid for him.
Erik ten Hag’s side were a goal down inside four minutes of the second-half and Tottenham’s midfield pair of Pape Sarr and Yves Bissouma were running riot. In front of them, James Maddison had the freedom of north London to work his magic.
Even if technical quality had to be sacrificed, United’s midfield desperately needed vitality. Instead, the Dutchman substituted Christian Eriksen for Antony and then refrained from making any midfield adjustments.
Gary Neville commented following that loss, “What is clear is that Ten Hag doesn’t want to revert back to Scott McTominay.” “With Fernandes on the right, the midfield seems disorganized, and the front three don’t appear to be able to work together as a unit.
Will he return to McTominay? Ten Hag has omitted him and employed five substitutes instead. It almost seems like he’s trying to get him kicked out of the club.
McTominay made his season debut yesterday against Brighton after appearing in just nine minutes total in the four games prior to the international break. When late substitutions were made to stop the clock in two different games—against Wolves and Nottingham Forest—he came off the bench for three and six minutes, respectively.
His inclusion on Saturday likely occurred when United’s depth was at its lowest. Due to off-field difficulties, Jadon Sancho and Antony are all absent, and Mason Mount, Kobbie Mainoo, and Sofyan Amrabat are all injured. This is the extremely unusual collection of circumstances that the Scotland regular needs in order to gain a look in.
The midfield option that falls between Casemiro and Bruno Fernandes is currently up for grabs because Ten Hag is widely anticipated to play both players whenever they are healthy. Eriksen excelled in the position last season, but at 31, it is unrealistic to expect him to continue in it for more than 50 games.