Man United FC

Five New Faces – Erik ten Hag promotes Man Utd wonderkid to main squad ahead of Bayern Munich clash

Erik ten Hag is seeking reinforcements as Manchester United prepares to face Bayern Munich in their Champions League group stage opener at the Allianz Arena.

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Manchester United’s youthful talent, Ethan Williams, has received a call-up to the first-team squad for the upcoming Champions League clash with Bayern Munich. At just 17 years old, Williams, a Manchester native, has progressed through the club’s academy ranks and is now training alongside United’s senior stars. With three goals and two assists in six youth-level games this season, Williams is a versatile player who can operate as an attacking midfielder or in wide forward positions.

Given the current shortage of options in these positions within the squad, manager Erik ten Hag has decided to incorporate Williams into first-team training. While it remains uncertain whether the 17-year-old, who also trained with the senior players last week, will travel to Munich, the possibility is looking increasingly likely.

Williams originally began his career with Rochdale but was acquired by United in November 2019. Since then, this Manchester-born talent, who is also eligible to represent France at the international level, has emerged as one of the club’s most promising prospects. He has even made appearances for United’s under-21 side in the Premier League 2 and Papa John’s Trophy.

Accompanying Williams on the journey to Germany are expected to be Raphael Varane and Mason Mount, both of whom missed the team’s embarrassing 3-1 home defeat to Brighton last Saturday. Mount, who joined United in a transfer deal worth up to £65 million this summer, has been sidelined since sustaining an injury after the second game of the season on August 19.

Varane, on the other hand, missed one less game, having been substituted at half-time during last month’s 3-2 comeback victory over Nottingham Forest a week later. This absence meant he couldn’t play in the 3-1 loss away to Arsenal and the subsequent humiliation against Brighton. However, both the French center-back and the English international Mount are now in contention to make their comebacks at the Allianz Arena.

Meanwhile, new signing Sofyan Amrabat is training individually as he continues to recover from a minor back issue that has delayed his debut for the Red Devils since his loan move from Fiorentina on transfer deadline day. Another midfielder, Kobbie Mainoo, aged 18, is also training separately as he recovers from an ankle injury sustained during pre-season.

Still on the sidelines are left-backs Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia, experienced goalkeeper Tom Heaton, and young forward Amad. In addition, wingers Jadon Sancho and Antony are unavailable due to off-field issues. While there was a point when Ten Hag could have fielded an entire lineup of injured players, the treatment room is gradually clearing.

Nevertheless, the pressure remains intense, with Manchester United eager to avoid a third consecutive defeat. Bayern Munich, the 2020 Champions League winners, enter the game after a thrilling 2-2 draw at home against Bayer Leverkusen on Friday, featuring a goal from Harry Kane and a dramatic 95th-minute equalizer by the visitors.

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