A number of Manchester United players have been away on international duty since the end of the season.
United’s preseason will begin on June 27th, but Erik ten Hag has stated that players who have been on international duty will require at least three weeks of rest. However, there are still doubts about whether there will be enough time for them to recover in preparation for what is expected to be a demanding first season under the Dutch manager.
However, Ten Hag’s rigorous training sessions are only the beginning of the trouble. With an international break in September and the 2022 Qatar World Cup commencing in November, the squad’s schedule will almost certainly lead to exhaustion.
Ten Hag’s management has previously been criticized for his unwillingness to heavily rotate his squads, especially when it is evident that particular players require rest. If United are to make progress in the 2022/23 season, he will need to understand this.
Up top is one place where this is likely to become a problem. Cristiano Ronaldo is 37 years old, and while claiming to have the body and fitness of someone much younger, playing two games every week for the full season will undoubtedly take its toll.
When Ralf Rangnick was initially appointed, Ronaldo had a goal drought, and many supporters speculated that it was because he needed to play 90 minutes in most games, and with Edinson Cavani’s persistent ailments and Antony Martial being loaned out, Rangnick had a significant lack of choices. The Portuguese forward improved tremendously once United lost the Champions League and their match slate thinned out.
So, what do United’s choices look like? First and foremost, they have the option of entering the transfer market. Before Benfica’s asking price was deemed too high and Liverpool jumped in with Champions League football on the table, the club was interested in a deal for Darwin Nunez, but there are still other choices available.
Given the need for rotation next season, any striker joining this summer will not be forced to accept a season on the bench, playing the occasional game till Ronaldo departs. Despite the fact that Ronaldo appears to be staying at Old Trafford, they might still play a key role. The most cost-effective option, though, would be to play either Martial or Marcus Rashford and hope that Ten Hag can help them regain their best form.
Some have expressed concerns that United will be unable to attract a quality centre-forward due to Ronaldo’s presence. The desire to avoid burnout, on the other hand, might help United identify or rediscover their next great forward.