Erik ten Hag has already demonstrated that he is more than capable of making brutal judgments while leading Manchester United, as five Red Devils discovered earlier this season.
The Dutchman sacked five players from the club’s first-team squad in order to make place for new summer additions, including club veterans such as Phil Jones. Tyrell Malacia, Christian Eriksen, Lisandro Martinez, Casemiro, and Antony were all signed in the summer, while Martin Dubravka arrived on loan but has since returned to Newcastle.
United’s first-team locker room at their Carrington training center was packed to the rafters due to the rush of new players, forcing Ten Hag to make a decision. According to The Sun, the AON Training Centre’s first-team changing room can only hold a maximum of 24 players, therefore a cull was necessary.
Ten Hag acted quickly, eliminating five players from the first-team roster. Jones was among them, a full-fledged England international whose career has been derailed by injuries in the second half.
Brandon Williams, a former loanee at Norwich City, and defenders Axel Tuanzebe and Tegen Mendi were also sacrificed. All five players were dropped to the reserve squad, including young midfielder Shola Shoretire.
All three of Jones, Williams, and Tuanzebe were anticipated to leave during Ten Hag’s first summer transfer window, but the United manager kept the trio despite the fact that their routes to the first team were obviously obstructed.
However, things have altered since then, with two of the aforementioned five departing the Red Devils in response to their exile.
Axel Tuanzebe has subsequently joined Championship club Stoke City on loan for the rest of the season on a deadline day move, while Shola Shoretire has also signed a loan agreement with League One side Bolton Wanderers midway through the January transfer window.
Jones, Williams, and Mendi are still at United and will be for the rest of the season, having sat out the January transfer window.
Ten Hag recently addressed Jones’ and the defender’s absence from United’s official squad list, telling reporters, “For the entire season he’s hurt. I’m not sure [if Jones will play again this season].
“What I can say is that he hasn’t been available for training from the first day of training this season, so I don’t think you’ll be able to heal and be ready quickly.”