Manchester United’s injury list continues to grow week after week. During a narrow 1-0 win over Luton Town in the Premier League on Saturday, the Red Devils suffered losses to both Christian Eriksen and Rasmus Hojlund.
The latter is undoubtedly a bigger blow for Erik ten Hag. While United have the likes of Mason Mount and Sofyan Amrabat who can come in for Eriksen, Anthony Martial is the only backup centre-forward but has scored just one goal all season from 15 appearances.
However, there is another left field option that Ten Hag should consider amid Hojlund’s absence from the squad.
Manchester United injury updates
Eriksen was replaced in the first half at the Theatre of Dreams on Saturday afternoon and is expected to be out until around mid-December. Meanwhile, Hojlund suffered a muscle strain on his right calf and will be out for the rest of November, ten Hag has confirmed. Both injuries are significant blows for United who face Galatasaray on November 29 in a must-win game.
Furthermore, the Dutchman confirmed that both Casemiro and Lisandro Martinez will be out of action until after Christmas, while Luke Shaw is not expected to return to the first team fold until the end of this month.
Nevertheless, despite United’s struggles for form and a consistent starting eleven, Ten Hag does have adequate cover at the back and in the middle of the park but with one-goal Martial being the side’s only backup centre-forward, the Dutch boss should look to do something out of the ordinary.
The left field option to replace Rasmus Hojlund
It looked as though Scott McTominay’s career at Manchester United was over during the summer, with ten Hag telling the midfielder he was no longer part of his plans. However, McTominay’s redemption arch with the Red Devils has been a sight to behold.
The 26-year-old is United’s top goalscorer in the Premier League this season alongside club captain Bruno Fernandes with three apiece. Two of McTominay’s goals came in stoppage time against Brentford right before the October international break.
The English giants were 1-0 down before he entered the fray with just three minutes of normal time to go. The Man United boss admitted that McTominay was “fabulous” during his cameo versus the Bees.
In recent weeks, Ten Hag has started to recognise McTominay’s goalscoring prowess, deploying him in more advanced positions to link up with Hojlund.
The Scotland international even assisted the first of the Dane’s brace against his former side Copenhagen last week with a beautiful ball across the face of the goal.
With Hojlund absent for the next few weeks, Ten Hag could start using his number ’39’ as a striker. While McTominay was always a midfielder in United’s academy, he still featured up top a handful of times and became a regular goalscorer in the U21s.
In the Premier League this season, McTominay is averaging 0.52 goals per 90 from an xG per 90 of 0.17. In contrast, Martial has failed to convert a single opportunity from an xG of 0.14 per 90.
Additionally, McTominay is getting more shots away than his French teammate, boasting 1.72 shots per 90 and 1.21 shots on target per 90 to Martial’s lowly 1.43 shots per 90 and 0.72 shots on target per 90. Furthermore, McTominay and Hojlund both share the same goals per shot rate in all competitions this season with 0.21 per strike.
McTominay is far more potent this season than Martial, and while his experience as a number ‘9’ is limited, perhaps Ten Hag could unearth a revelation by asking the £60k-p/w star to lead the line until Hojlund returns.