Ten Hag can ease double injury blow by unleashing Man Utd’s 19 y/o “natural leader”

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The Europa League tie between Manchester United and Sevilla ended in a 2-2 draw at home on Thursday, and as a result, the first leg result meant that the tie was still very much in doubt going into next week’s journey to Spain.

Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez’s injuries, in especially the latter player’s exit, which raised questions about the likely length of his absence among the home crowd, were the higher cost of the match at Old Trafford.

The club has now disclosed that Martinez will miss the rest of the season with a metatarsal injury, while fellow World Cup winner Varane is also expected to miss the next few weeks of activity. As it turns out, United’s worst fears have come true.

Due to the double blow, manager Erik ten Hag now only has the senior center-back options of Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof to choose from for the upcoming matches, though the usual left-back Luke Shaw, who has recently struggled with injuries of his own, is also able to play in a central position if necessary.

Even with the flexibility of the England international, it might be challenging for the Old Trafford team to rely solely on those limited options. 19-year-old Rhys Bennett is one potential academy gem who might be called upon to ease this concerning injury crisis.

Who is Rhys Bennett of Man United?

The young defender rose to prominence after leading United’s U18 team to FA Youth Cup victory at the end of last season. The talented Englishman, who scored the game’s first goal, was crucial in the championship victory over Nottingham Forest.

According to Manchester Evening News journalist Samuel Luckhurst, Bennett appears to be somewhat of a “natural leader” and also a true “good character,” having made a clear impact at the club thus far. Bennett just donned the captain’s armband in the academy ranks.

The £730-per-week potential has yet to make a competitive senior debut, but he did make an impressive appearance for Ten Hag’s team against Real Betis during the World Cup break. Veteran goalkeeper Tom Heaton praised his youthful teammate as “excellent” despite the 1-0 loss.

Along with fellow Youth Cup champions Kobbie Mainoo and Alejandro Garnacho, Bennett was already elevated to the first-team roster this season. The next stage for the kid is to move beyond just being a member of the matchday squad for the top-four contenders.

According to Luckhurst, the teenage superstar “played well” against Betis, demonstrating her capacity to thrive against adult competition. With Martinez and Varane’s departures, it might not be long before she gets a real chance to shine.

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