Zidane Iqbal shines in midfield again as Manchester United's under-21 win in EFL Trophy
Zidane Iqbal started for Manchester United in last night’s EFL Trophy victory over Barrow.
It was United’s second win out of two in the competition, with Alejandro Garnacho scoring an injury-time winner after a cross-field pass from player-coach Tom Huddlestone.
Charlie McNeill had grabbed the opener from the penalty spot in the first half, to set United on the way to a 2-1 victory.
The involvement of Garnacho, Iqbal, McNeill and Facundo Pellistri, who all started, was a hint from manager Erik ten Hag that neither of the quartet will be considered to start the Europa League away fixture against Omonia Nicosia this week.
All four could travel, but starting opportunities are more likely to come later in the competition in home fixtures, providing United can get a win this Thursday night.
Garnacho’s goal was an obvious highlight but the best player on the night was Zidane Iqbal, who started in midfield alongside Charlie Savage, who also impressed with him on the club’s pre-season tour.
Iqbal shines in midfield
Iqbal saw more of the ball than any Manchester United player, touching the ball 82 times. No Barrow midfielder had more than 49 touches.
He won his battles, successful in six out of seven ground duels, and won four fouls. He created one goalscoring chance.
Off the ball Iqbal was sharp too, making four interceptions, a figure matched by teammate Dan Gore.
The young midfielder has been training with Erik ten Hag’s first team squad since the beginning of the summer and continues to wait for his opportunity.
Last night’s game at Barrow was played in open, wet and windy conditions, a test for any footballer, and Iqbal came through with flying colours, as the most dominant midfielder on the pitch.
The 19-year-old is going to feature for the first team this season at some stage, and last night was another feather in his cap.
Erik ten Hag has some real talent in the academy to work with, and Iqbal is one of the most exciting players of the bunch.