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Man United outcast absent vs Athletic Bilbao despite Erik ten Hag recent comments



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Credit: Man Utd

Manchester United forward Anthony Martial is absent from the squad to face Athletic Bilbao in their final pre-season friendly of the summer.

Martial, 27, has been in team training for over two weeks but will end up having no involvement in any game of warm-up for the upcoming Premier League season.

The French forward was not included in the squad to face the Spanish outfit. Wingers Jadon Sancho and Facundo Pellistri are in the starting XI in the Republic of Ireland despite being involved in the matchday squad on Saturday at Old Trafford.

Martial has had difficulties with injuries since Erik ten Hag took over at the Theatre of Dreams. The Dutchman has backed the centre forward throughout these problems, even so recently as two weeks ago.

Yeah, of course, when you have player in a squad you expect that he is available and then the players have to take the responsibility to be available,” he said.

“But when he’s not I have to deal with the situation and we show that we also then can be successful without that striker. But yeah, of course, it’s more easy when you have that striker in your team because I think every club who wins big trophies has scoring abilities in that team.

“We need a good squad and Anthony Martial is a brilliant football player and so he will help us.

“He scored goals and also in other areas of football like pressing, in possession, combinations, he’s a great player and, yeah, let’s hope he will be fit and he stays fit.”

It remains to be seen whether his exclusion from every matchday squad is the efforts of Ten Hag and the staff to prepare him physically for the upcoming campaign, or whether trust has been lost in his ability to remain fit behind the scenes.

Meanwhile, however, Rasmus Hojlund has been announced as a new Manchester United player and is expected to play through the middle when he returns from a slight injury problem.

The 20-year-old was unveiled at Old Trafford on Saturday after signing for an initial £64 million from Atalanta. His addition will boost United who did not have a natural no.9 option when Martial was out.