Southgate mismanagement, United pre-season, and Ten Hag's patience: The Treble column

Welcome to a new column on United In Focus, aptly named The Treble, consisting of three separate topics and opinions relating to Manchester United...

Southgate mismanagement of United stars

England manager Gareth Southgate spoke out this week to ‘warn’ Manchester United forwards Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho they may not make the World Cup squad.

“They’ve got a lot to do to get back in the squad,”, Southgate was quoted by BBC Sport.

Neither Sancho or Rashford had great seasons, particularly in the case of the latter. But for a moment, Southgate should stop and reflect on what impact he may have had in their struggles.

It is just 11 months since Southgate sent both players on at Wembley and asked them to score penalties in the Euro 2020 final. They both missed.

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From his own Euro ’96 nightmare, Southgate should know better than anybody the pain both players will have felt.

He should be treating the United stars with extra care, and making them feel welcome, rather than threatening to close the door.

Rashford and Sancho should reflect that if they do miss out on the tournament later this year, it may be a blessing in disguise not to be part of it.

Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

Manchester United pre-season excitement

Manchester United’s final pre-season game was set this week, with Radamel Falcao and Bebe set to visit Old Trafford with Rayo Vallecano.

United have six games in July, this will give the entire squad a proper chance to try and impress new manager Erik ten Hag.

A couple of signings by then will hopefully lift the mood, and it will be genuinely exciting to see Ten Hag’s new look United in action.

Pre-season should be competitive, with United’s players all looking to make their mark, and youngsters like Alejandro Garnacho and Hannibal looking to showcase their abilities.

The six match stretch could make or break a few Manchester United careers, and Ten Hag will use the games to learn more about his players.

July might be a fun month. During the dark days of the 2021/22 season, when it seemed like there was no hope, the one reason to really be optimistic was the thought of pre-season under a new manager, and a fresh start. It’s almost here.

Thursday will also see the Premier League fixtures released. The new season is going to start getting very real.

Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images

Erik ten Hag’s patience with Manchester United’s board

Ending on a negative to balance out the optimism, how long will Erik ten Hag’s patience with the Manchester United board last?

Ten Hag was warned by Louis van Gaal that life at United might not go smoothly, and it’s hard to say the summer has been productive so far.

We wouldn’t over-react, there’s plenty of time to get business done, but its also fair to ask what exactly has been achieved in the transfer market over the past two weeks?

The next fortnight is crucial. What happens if we reach July and no new faces are brought in? Will Erik ten Hag’s behind the scenes demeanour change? Will he start pushing the board and asking them to stop haggling, and start delivering?

Ten Hag came to United to take on the challenge, and he would have hoped, at the very least, to be given the chance to sign the players he wants to.

United supporters are rightly nervous, we have seen this charade play out before. Ten Hag is experiencing it all for the first time, and his patience may soon be put to the test.

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