EPL

Eriksen to return to Man Utd squad in major boost to Ten Hag

By Sports Desk April 07, 2023

Christian Eriksen will return to Manchester United's matchday squad for Saturday's clash with Everton after over two months out.

The Denmark international suffered an ankle injury in an FA Cup win over Reading on January 28 after being on the receiving end of a crude challenge by Andy Carroll.

Manager Erik ten Hag was not shy in voicing his displeasure with Carroll's tackle over the following days, with it then emerging Eriksen was facing up to three months out.

That was a major disappointment for United given how quickly the Dane had established himself as a key player at Old Trafford.

But Eriksen's rehabilitation has gone well and he is in contention to play a part against visitors Everton on Saturday, meaning he will have missed a little over two months rather than being ruled out until May, as was feared.

The good news of Eriksen's return was tempered by the blow of losing Luke Shaw after he was substituted early against Brentford on Wednesday, but the midfielder was the chief focus in Ten Hag's pre-match press conference.

Asked for a squad fitness update, Ten Hag said: "Luke Shaw is not available for [Everton], and we have to see how it progresses in the coming week.

"The good news is Christian Eriksen is back in training and he will be back tomorrow in the squad."

Although United have since won the EFL Cup, progressed to the quarter-finals of the Europa League and remain firmly in the hunt for a top-four spot, their form over the past two months has been patchy.

United's win rate with Eriksen this season is 63.2 per cent, compared to 44.4 per cent without him.

Other factors have come into play with respect to United's recent inconsistency, with Casemiro also missing a significant amount of football due to multiple suspensions.

But the importance of Eriksen's timely return at a decisive moment in the season was not lost on Ten Hag.

"I think it was not for nothing," he said. "I was so angry about that tackle and he was away – at first we feared we had lost him for the whole season, but he worked very well.

"I think the medical department did really well and in togetherness he is already returning to the squad and so is available for the final stages of the season. We are very pleased with that.

"From the first [point] it was a really bad tackle and it was also a really bad injury, but he is a little bit ahead of the schedule so we are very happy with [that]."

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