Man Utd’s best and worst four players under Ten Hag so far

Ten Hag praises 'happy' Rashford as Man Utd host Sociedad

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Seven games in, and it would be no understatement to say Erik ten Hag has had a mixed start to life as Manchester United manager. There have been four wins so far, as well as three defeats. So with no football on this weekend, Express Sport will now take a step back and look at their four best, and four most disappointing, players this term.

Best: Marcus Rashford

Marcus Rashford endured a nightmare season for United last term, with the England international scoring just five times as the club toiled under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick.

However, he’s bounced back to rise to the fore and notch three goals so far this term.

Rashford looked lost during the opening two matches of the campaign, when United lost to Brentford and Brighton.

Yet he’s bounced back to rediscover his mojo. He got off the mark in the 2-1 win over Liverpool, a victory that boosted the morale over at Old Trafford.

And Rashford then proceeded to bag a brilliant brace as United battled their way to a 3-1 win over Arsenal on Sunday.

Disappointing: Cristiano Ronaldo

Last season, Cristiano Ronaldo was a shining light for United.

The 37-year-old scored 24 goals across all competitions, including 18 in the Premier League, with his efforts key as the Red Devils qualified for the Europa League.

So far this term, however, Ronaldo has started to look his age.

The Portugal international was off the pace in the 4-0 defeat to Brentford and, though he’s been good coming off the bench, he was again poor in Thursday’s loss to Real Sociedad.

United fought hard to keep Ronaldo at the club but, potentially, they’d have benefitted from his departure.

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Best: Christian Eriksen

United spent the whole of the summer transfer window chasing Frenkie de Jong, with Ten Hag aware the club needed a player who can dictate matches and control the tempo.

They missed out, though, much to Ten Hag’s frustration.

However, in the time since, Christian Eriksen has lived up to the billing by shining for United.

The former Tottenham and Inter Milan star has been a calming presence in midfield and produced a man of the match display during last Sunday’s win over Arsenal.

And it was telling that United conceded against Real Sociedad on Thursday when Eriksen wasn’t on the pitch.

Disappointing: Harry Maguire

When United signed Harry Maguire for £80million back in the summer transfer window of 2019, Solskjaer was convinced he’d be a huge asset for many years to come.

The England international was even made captain a few months after his arrival, following the departure of Ashley Young.

Yet the brutal fact of the matter is that United are better without their skipper.

Maguire was dreadful during the defeats to Brentford and Brighton and put in another abject display as they lost to Sociedad.

On his day, he’s a top player. Yet the 29-year-old has had far too many bad days in the past 12 months and is no longer a guaranteed starter at the club.

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Best: Lisandro Martinez

Lisandro Martinez has come good for United, bouncing back from his Brentford and Brighton horror shows to become a vital Ten Hag asset.

The Argentina international has flourished alongside Raphael Varane, with the duo starting to form a strong partnership at the back.

Martinez gave away a penalty against Sociedad on Thursday but was unlucky, especially given the ball appeared to deflect of his leg and onto his arm.

The former Ajax star has already drawn comparisons with cult hero Gabriel Heinze.

And United will be hoping he recovers from the Sociedad setback whenever they next take to the field.

Disappointing: Fred

United have started Fred three times this season.

And they’ve lost all three of those matches, with the Brazil international experiencing a testing start to the campaign.

Fred was good under Rangnick last term,, with the Samba star clearly comfortable in a more offensive role.

Yet he’s just not been at the races so far this season and appears to be falling down Ten Hag’s pecking order with each passing week.

He played the full 90 minutes against Sociedad but, barring a yellow cards, did precious little of note. Certainly, not enough to warrant a starting berth in the future.

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Best: Tyrell Malacia

Tyrell Malacia was, at one point, set to leave Feyenoord for Lyon back in the summer.

But the Netherlands international ended up moving to United instead after Ten Hag made it clear how highly he rated the left-back.

Malacia was overlooked for a starting spot in the early defeats to Brentford and Brighton, with Luke Shaw picked in his place.

Yet the 23-year-old has been outstanding in the time since and has been able to keep Shaw out of the side in recent matches.

The sky’s the limit for the youngster and one of the biggest compliments to be paid to Malacia is that he’s starting to resemble club legend Patrice Evra with his gung-ho, attacking approach.

Disappointing: Casemiro

It would be harsh to judge Casemiro so far.

Signed from Real Madrid for a huge £60million, many expected the Brazil international to hit the ground running and walk into the team by default.

Yet the 30-year-old has started just one match since and didn’t make much of an impression against Real Sociedad on Thursday.

With Scott McTominay in form, Casemiro is battling to get into the United starting XI.

And that’s a surprise given how much he’s won over the course of his glittering career.

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