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Opinion: Erik ten Hag should build his team around 5 untouchables he already has in his 2024-25 Manchester United squad

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Opinion: Erik ten Hag should build his team around 5 untouchables he already has in his 2024-25 Manchester United squad

5 Man United players Erik ten Hag needs to build his team around going forward

After weeks of deliberation, Man United have finally decided to stick with Erik ten Hag, for now at least.

The managerial situation is sorted, but the sporting director situation remains unresolved and it could be a while before we see a conclusion of that saga. This means that it’s even more important for Ten Hag to earmark his most important players around whom he should build the side ahead of next season.

Here are our five picks that we think are crucial for the Dutchman.

Kobbie Mainoo

Mainoo was easily one of United’s best players as he established himself in the starting XI over the second half of the season just gone by. His performances in big games further demonstrated this young man’s mentality and composure, so much so that he now finds himself in Germany with the England national team participating in UEFA Euro 2024.

It is almost certain that the 19-year-old will remain at Old Trafford at least for the near future.

Mainoo’s numbers in the FA Cup final

With that in mind and the fact that he has already become an integral part of Ten Hag’s starting XI, we can expect to see more of Mainoo next season, though how he will operate in the midfield would depend on the acquisitions United manage to make to support him.

Alejandro Garnacho

Garnacho is another United academy product that emerged as one of the first names of the team sheets as the season progressed. Capable of operating both on the left and right wings, the Argentina international became the salvation of all those who wanted Antony gone from the right side once Jadon Sancho was ostracised from the first team.

With neither Antony nor Marcus Rashford in good form, we can expect Garnacho to make even more starts ahead of those two next season, if they manage to remain at Old Trafford, that is.

Diogo Dalot

Luke Shaw’s injury problems and Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s limitations leaves Diogo Dalot as the outright most reliable option for United in the fullback positions both on the right and the left.

Capable of both overlapping and underlapping runs, while also adept at inverting into midfield from either side, Dalot is a very good fullback who can even become excellent under the right circumstances. It is now incumbent upon Ten Hag to provide him with that environment and more opportunities next season.

Bruno Fernandes

This is a slightly tricky one because Fernandes has been linked with a move away in recent weeks.

Turning 30 this year, Man United should not outright ignore any possibility of selling him, especially if outlandish money is offered for him.

That said, Fernandes was United’s most productive player last season and once again demonstrated his ability to deliver even when the team around him failed to perform consistently. Next season, if he remains at United, we can once again expect him to lead United from the front. It would be better for Ten Hag if he continued deploying the Portugal international further up the pitch.

Lisandro Martínez

There were a lot of concerns surrounding Ten Hag’s favourite centre-back, Martínez, due to his long-term absences in the recently-concluded season, but the Argentina international put all those to rest with his exemplary outing in the FA Cup final which ensured United pulled off an unexpectedly solid performance at the back to take the trophy off Man City’s hands.

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Martínez is back, back like he never left, and if United can manage to sort their medical department out and keep their players’ fitness in check, Martínez can be expected to lead United’s backline not just next season, but in the years to come.