Erik ten Hag surprised by the skills of Manchester United youth Zidane Iqbal
According to the Sun, the new manager of Manchester United, Erik ten Hag, who led the team’s first preseason training since taking charge of the club, was impressed by Zidane Iqbal, a 19-year-old youth star.
The Iraqi international earned his senior United debut in a UEFA Champions League dead rubber match against Young Boys last year. He hasn’t received any further minutes, though.
Even if the preseason is still in its early stages, Ten Hag seems to have been impressed by Iqbal. The Dutch manager was surprised that the 19-year-old wasn’t utilised enough in the last season.
Other young players who caught the attention of the manager are Alejandro Garnacho and Hannibal Mejbri who had their share of first-team minutes but haven’t really got to enjoy the feeling of participating in a full-fledged senior game with United.
Considering Iqbal looked up to Ozil and admitted that he wants to play like Frenkie de Jong, it is pretty clear what kind of role the youngster wants to play and Erik ten Hag will be overjoyed to have him if he truly reaches the heights.
Iqbal has participated in 25 games for the young squad this year, participating in all tournaments and contributing four goals and one assist. His performances have won over everyone’s admiration, and he may get another chance to do so during the preseason.
Man United highly require some additions in the midfield prior to the upcoming season. Although it is very possible that they will recruit a new midfielder in the next few days, the vacancies in the squad mean that one of the young players can have the opportunity to play for the first team.
After all, Erik ten Hag established a reputation at Amsterdam for believing in young players, bringing out the best in them, and integrating them into the club. There might be one or two young players who profit from this, even though he might not be able to do it to the same extent at Old Trafford.
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The preseason will give us a good picture of the type of system ten Hag intends to employ and reveal which players he seems to have confidence in. He would have the opportunity to observe other players, and Iqbal might very well be one of them.
If all goes swiftly, Zidane Iqbal might get an opportunity to play for the first team next season. Who knows, he might soon be lining up next to the player he wanted to model his game after.