The winter break provides a breather for many of United’s players. For others, it’s a fresh start after barely being involved.
Injuries have meant this has been a lost season so far for Axel Tuanzebe, Eric Bailly and Timothy Fosu-Mensah.
All three could help the team out over the final four months of the season after regaining, or getting close being at full fitness.
Here is a look at each of their prospects…
Tuanzebe entered this season ready to secure a place as a Manchester United first team player.
Every time he has played, he has looked the part. The problem has been getting onto the pitch.
If he hasn’t been the third wheel behind Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelöf, he has been injured.
Tuanzebe has been missing since December and has started only two Premier League games. He has played only six minutes in the league since October.
A shift to three at the back in certain games can help him out with opportunities, but one of his challenges will be staying fit.
He will now have Eric Bailly as competition too, and Tuanzebe needs to avoid this becoming a lost season.
Bailly has been on the bench for United since mid-January but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has chosen to play it safe and not use him.
The Ivorian deserves a chance though, he’s a big talent who may even turn out to be Harry Maguire’s best partner. He has to prove it.
With concerns about Maguire’s fitness too, Bailly is an option United are now fortunate to have, and should use him.
Bailly may regret not getting a game in January and failing to get a headstart over teammate Axel Tuanzebe.
It is possible we even see a Bailly and Tuanzebe partnership in the FA Cup against Derby if Solskjaer looks to rotate amid a busy schedule. Up against Wayne Rooney, that would be a great test.
Fosu-Mensah faces an uncertain future with his deal at United set to expire at the end of the season.
He is currently coming off a serious ACL injury and his most immediate future is with the under-23s, after making his return last month.
United have an option to activate a contract extension by a further year, if Fosu-Mensah can impress enough.
If he gets a chance, he has to grab it, and this could come in a midfield position. He looked bright there in his under-23 performance, but there’s obviously a big jump to get to the first team.
This won’t be easy, but United should give him a look between March and May. It would be great if he had a positive impact and kickstarted his career.
Last season at Fulham he registered the fastest speed of any Premier League player, The Sun reported. That’s athleticism United might be able to utilise in midfield.
He has become a forgotten figure, and at 22, he’s running out of time. But don’t give up on him just yet.
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