Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Andre Onana risks Ten Hag wrath with keeper to abandon Man Utd when it matters most

Man Utd manager Erik ten Hag and goalkeeper Andre Onana

Andre Onana has put country before club after agreeing to play for Cameroon in the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations, and the matches he could miss for Manchester United have been revealed, per a report.

Onana, 27, retired from international duty at the end of 2022 after a dispute over tactics with Cameroon boss Rigobert Song. Onana left the Cameroon camp midway through the World Cup in Qatar as a result.

At the time of his signing for Man Utd in the off-season, Onana was still understood to be retired from international football.

However, Onana opted to accept a recall for his country’s final AFCON qualifier against Burundi in September. The stopper later played for Cameroon again during a 1-0 friendly defeat to Senegal in October.

According to GiveMeSport, Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag was ‘less than overjoyed’ when learning of Onana returning to international football.

The Dutchman reportedly believed ‘Onana’s sole focus should be building his career at Old Trafford with United goalkeepers facing a unique and brutal spotlight.’

Given the player’s nervy start at Old Trafford, it would appear Ten Hag’s fears were well placed.

However, Onana has begun to find his feet in recent matches, with his injury-time penalty save against Copenhagen a notable highlight.

A series of wonder saves to deny Erling Haaland on Sunday also prevented the scoreline from getting out of hand in the Manchester derby.

But according to a fresh update from i news, Onana has agreed to represent Cameroon at the upcoming AFCON.

The tournament will take place in the Ivory Coast between January 13 to February 11.

A well-placed source is quoted by i news as saying: “At the moment he plans to play in every game he is called up for.”

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Which game could Onana miss?

Should Cameroon advance all the way to the final on February 11, Onana could theoretically miss as many as eight matches for United.

Four Premier League clashes are scheduled to take place while the tournament is ongoing. Man Utd play Tottenham, Wolves, West Ham and Aston Villa during that span.

The contests with Spurs and Villa in particular could prove pivotal in the race for Champions League qualification.

Should United advance to the EFL Cup semi-finals, Onana could potentially miss both legs.

The first leg of the semi-final is scheduled for the week commencing January 8. Depending on when Onana reports for duty with Cameroon, he could be absent for the first leg. The second leg – in the week commencing January 22 – would be a certain miss.

Onana would also be missing for an FA Cup fourth round tie – assuming Man Utd don’t fall in the third round, of course.

Finally, Onana could potentially miss a European match regardless of whether United are in the Champions League or have dropped into the Europa League.

Half of the first legs at the Round of 16 stage in the UCL will take place on February 13 and 14. That is just two/three days after the AFCON final.

Elsewhere, if United finish third in their group and drop into the Europa League, they’ll be forced to play in the play-off round. The first leg of those ties are due to take place on February 15.

There has been talk United could re-sign David de Gea to a short-term deal to cover the absence. The alternative is Ten Hag putting his faith in Altay Bayindir.

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