Soccer-Man United’s Martinez could return against Brentford, says Ten Hag

(Reuters) – Manchester United defender Lisandro Martinez could be back for their Premier League clash against Brentford on Saturday after a spell on the sidelines with a knee injury, manager Erik ten Hag said on Friday.

The 26-year-old Argentine centre back sustained an injury to the medial collateral ligament in his knee during United’s 3-0 home win against West Ham United in February.

United, sixth in the league with 10 games to go, next take a trip to west London to face 15th-placed Brentford.

“Yes, there is a chance (he’ll back in squad),” Ten Hag told reporters.

“We have missed him every game because he brings a composure in the team, a calmness in the team. At the same time, a winning attitude and he can express this very clearly. He can transfer that into the team and that contributes a lot to our levels.”

The Dutchman has received another boost with defender Luke Shaw expected to return from a muscle injury before the end of the season.

“He is still on schedule and will return to our team,” Ten Hag added.

Another positive for United has been the rise of 18-year-old midfielder Kobbie Mainoo, who made his debut for England as a substitute in their 1-0 defeat to Brazil last week, followed by another impressive performance against Belgium at Wembley on Tuesday.

Mainoo is a graduate of United’s youth academy and has made 14 appearances for the Old Trafford side in the league this season.

Ten Hag said Mainoo’s good start to his international career came as no surprise to him.

“I thought it was very good but we are not surprised. We know what he is capable of, he can very quickly adapt to high levels,” he said.

“It looks very natural, and we are very happy for him. And very proud for the academy. It’s a big compliment to the whole club.

“So far, he has handled it well, it is not necessary (to step in) because he wants to play football, he wants to win, he wants to give his best every day because he wants to improve, he just wants to have fun on the pitch.

“Fun for him is to play dominant, to dictate the game and win the game.”

(Reporting by Pearl Josephine Nazare in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)


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