Man United FC

One New face – Five things spotted in Manchester United training including popular Mitchell van der Gaag myth

Man United practiced at Carrington on Wednesday ahead of their Europa League match against Omonia on Thursday night.


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On Wednesday morning, Manchester United practiced at Carrington before heading to Cyprus to face Omonia Nicosia.

United was trounced 6-3 in the Manchester derby at the weekend, but the players appeared to be in good spirits at Carrington as they attempt to put that humiliation behind them as Thursday’s Europa League match against Omonia approaches.

Raphael Varane and Harry Maguire were absent from the training session, as were Donny van de Beek and Aaron Wan-Bissaka. It was then revealed that all four players will not be traveling to Cyprus to compete in the Europa League.

The Manchester Evening News saw five things during open training at Carrington on Wednesday morning.

1. The reaction of Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo has only made one Premier League start this season, and he was an unused substitute in the Manchester derby. Ten Hag stated that he did it “out of respect” for Ronaldo’s career, and he was questioned about him again at his news conference.

According to Ten Hag: “Don’t get me wrong: he’s upset about not playing on Sunday. When asked about his mood on the training pitch and when he’s around, he said he’s cheerful. Of course, he wants to play, and he gets irritated when he doesn’t. Clear.”

Ronaldo was displeased to be on the bench, but he appeared comfortable and in good spirits at Carrington, as Ten Hag revealed during his news conference, with the forward was seen laughing and joking with his teammates throughout the rondos.

During that drill, Lisandro Martinez was nutmegged by Ronaldo, and the 37-year-old couldn’t stop grinning at his misery.

2. The training teams

After conversing with Ten Hag and doing some light running around the pitch’s perimeter, the players returned to the near side before breaking into two groups, signaling the commencement of the rondo training drill.

The two groups were primarily made up of European and South American players who obviously spoke Portuguese, however, there were outliers, such as teenager Maximilian Oyedele, who played with Ronaldo and company.

Benni McCarthy observed the Portuguese speakers while Steve McClaren observed the largely ‘European’ group.

3. Players from the academy

On Wednesday morning, Oyedele, Isak Hansen-Aaron, Toby Collyer, and Omari Forson were all involved in first-team training. Ten Hag has pledged to give young players opportunities if they merit them, and he has so far kept his word.

Collyer, 18, has trained with the first team in recent weeks, according to the Manchester Evening News. The highly rated teenager captained England at the U16 and U17 levels before joining United from Brighton in March.

Forson has been in fantastic form for the U21s this season, contributing four goals and one assist in eight games, making him Mark Dempsey’s leading goalscorer in that age group, with Charlie McNeill close behind.

4: Mitchell van der Gaag

Mitchell van der Gaag, Ten Hag’s assistant manager, recently went viral for ‘leaving Carrington in a black Lamborghini,’ but it’s understood the vehicle is not his, which may disappoint supporters who posted the film on social media.

Van der Gaag driving a Lamborghini to practice sounded too wonderful to be true, and it was. The car is thought to be Robbie Savage’s, which explains why it was sighted at Leigh Sports Village, where Charlie Savage plays for the U21s.

Van der Gaag would have laughed at the film claiming it was his Lamborghini.

5. The role of Steve McClaren

Steve McClaren and Ten Hag worked together at FC Twente during McClaren’s first year in the Netherlands, since he arrived without any of his own coaching staff and Ten Hag stayed on as an assistant under the previous manager.

Ten Hag saw McClaren as a natural addition to his backroom team following his hiring at Old Trafford because he had extensive experience in the Premier League and English football, and the duo had a solid relationship at Twente.

During the rondo practice, McClaren was enthusiastic and seemed to be a popular figure among the players.

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