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Erik ten Hag confirms Christian Eriksen’s Manchester United theory about Kobbie Mainoo



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Erik ten Hag has confirmed Christian Eriksen’s theory about Kobbie Mainoo and the Dane’s lack of Manchester United playing time this season.

Christian Eriksen has played 1,127 minutes in a Manchester United shirt so far this season, a reduction from the 3,080 minutes he played last campaign when he was out for three months with an ankle injury.

Eriksen had formed a fantastic partnership with Casemiro and Bruno Fernandes during his opening season under Erik ten Hag at Old Trafford before his ankle injury. However, he has failed to recover his form since losing his place in the starting XI.

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Meanwhile, United have signed Mason Mount from Chelsea while also witnessing the brilliant rise of Kobbie Mainoo since mid-November 2023, which has coincided with Eriksen’s drop in the midfield order.

Speaking recently, Eriksen admitted that he is not happy with his lack of game time at the club, and has spoken to Ten Hag about it.

Eriksen: I’m unhappy

“I have previously stated that I am not satisfied with not playing, but it’s not something that keeps me up at night,” Eriksen said last month.

“The team is performing, and I must respect the role you have alongside. For my part, it has been about working hard and focusing on being fresh for every game, and I am. It is easier now to accept my role than it would have been before.”

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He continued, explaining that Ten Hag told him it was just “the team he had chosen” – but Eriksen then theorised that he was out more specifically due to Kobbie Mainoo’s brilliant performances.

“I have had a conversation with Erik about being unhappy with the situation and wanting to play as much as possible, but I am available and need to be available for the team, which I am and always will be.

“He said it was the team he had chosen, and Kobbie is doing well, and the rest of the midfield is also performing well, so there is competition for places, which is expected when playing for a top club. There is great competition within the team.”

Ten Hag’s confirmation

When asked about Eriksen on Friday afternoon, Ten Hag confirmed that the main reason for his lack of game time is due to Mainoo’s progress.

“I think that is the main reason, yeah, Kobbie, his progress, we have there, an extra option,” Ten Hag explained to reporters. “He was so important for us.

“He is playing in that six/eight role to bring creation to the team, [and] bring composure, in our possession game, to the team. I think that is the main reason why Christian has less minutes than last season.”