Erik ten Hag explains throwing Wout Weghorst straight into Manchester United starting XI
Wout Weghorst makes his first appearance for Manchester United on Wednesday night and he will do it in the starting XI at Crystal Palace in the Premier League.
The 30-year-old has been a surprise arrival on loan from Burnley this month as United cover for Cristiano Ronaldo’s exit and Anthony Martial’s ongoing injury problems.
Martial, who appears to be Erik ten Hag’s first choice as a central striker, has managed just six Premier League starts so far this season and is not in the squad for the trip to Palace after going off at half-time against Manchester City on Saturday.
Taking his place up front is the new arrival, the 6’6″ Netherlands international who brings an entirely different profile to United’s strikeforce.
However, Ten Hag insists it will not change how his side plays and expects Weghorst to link up well with his new teammates.
‘It changes nothing,’ Ten Hag told the BBC of starting Weghorst at Selhurst Park. ‘A different profile but he is a typical number nine. It fits good with Antony, Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford.’
Asked if the big striker’s presence will mean more crosses, the manager said: ‘I don’t think Weghorst is a player only for crosses.’
Ten Hag explained that Martial had not been able to train ahead of the Manchester derby at the weekend but pushed to start anyway and it has cost him.
‘I hoped to avoid [him] getting injured,’ said Ten Hag. ‘He was complaining, so that’s why he also didn’t train in the week and why he was a question mark.
‘We decided, and he decided. He begged to start because I knew the start would be so important in this game.
‘He [Martial] is really good with his pressing and he is a really big element in our pressing, and he did that really well before half-time [vs Man City] .
‘But also you saw he was not capable to go 100 per cent and that’s what you need.’
Manchester United team to face Crystal Palace: De Gea, Shaw, Martinez, Varane, Wan-Bissaka, Casemiro, Eriksen, Rashford, Fernandes, Antony, Weghorst.
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