Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Erik ten Hag warned Man Utd have ‘no chance’ if he commits cardinal sin with Christian Eriksen

Christian Eriksen of Brentford during the Premier League match at Brentford Community Stadium,

Danny Murphy believes Erik ten Hag will predominantly use new signing Christian Eriksen as an impact substitute with Bruno Fernandes his first-choice No.10 this season.

Former Liverpool and Tottenham midfielder has been critical of United’s free-transfer move for the Denmark star in the past. And he insists the former Brentford star will have to play second fiddle to Fernandes this season.

Manchester United finally wrapped up a deal for the 30-year-old on Saturday after a summer-long chase.

New Dutch boss Ten Hag has welcomed the creativity the “magnificent” Eriksen will bring and said “the fans will enjoy watching him”.

But Murphy is unsure just how many games Eriksen will play in Ten Hag’s favoured 4-2-3-1 formation. He also claimed that United will not be able to play both Eriksen and Fernandes in the same starting XI.

Murphy told talkSPORT: “I think United are going to play one No 10. If you think you’re going to get Eriksen and Fernandes in a midfield three and be able to compete with teams athletically and defensively, you’ve got no chance.

“He’ll play his share of games because you don’t have the same XI for a season, we know that.

“You will see the rotation and it’s five subs this season as well so there is going to be impact off the bench but he is not going to play ahead of Fernandes.

Eriksen not at Fernandes’ level

“Some people might prefer him to Fernandes but his numbers don’t suggest he is on Fernandes’ level.”

Fernandes has scored 50 goals and chalked up 38 assists in 125 games for United. And the 27-year-old looks like being Ten Hag’s main creative midfielder.

Eriksen’s numbers, mainly from his time with Spurs have seen him collect 52 goals and 71 assists from 237 Premier League games. He did inspire Brentford to Premier League safety last season with a goal and four assists from 11 games.

But Murphy does not believe Eriksen is world class and recently doubled down on his reservations over the signing,

“He’s going to be a squad player, isn’t he? He’s not going to play instead of [Bruno] Fernandes,” said Murphy at the start of the month.

When asked if Eriksen is a world class player, Murphy replied: “No. He’s a welcome addition to any squad because he has experience and he has quality, but if you’re looking at the big games where United compete with Liverpool, City and Chelsea, is he going to play in their first 11?

Ten Hag will rotate

“No, is the answer, if they want to be competitive.

“You can’t play him and Fernandes. He’s a number 10 or a number 8. [Paul] Pogba and Fernandes played together on occasion, but not very often and that’s why United were so easy to play against at times.”

It’s safe to assume that Ten Hag is well-versed enough to make sure Fernandes and Eriksen are not included in the same line-up.

But Ten Hag will want some rotation in a team that still has to compete on four fronts. Although their sixth-placed finish was unwelcome, they have still qualified for the Europa League.

As Murphy referred to also, the rules next season allow teams to make up to five substitutions and . Clubs will be allowed nine players on the bench and the new rules will permit changes to be made three times during a match, in addition to half-time.

Therefore, expect to see Ten Hag interchanging Eriksen and Fernandes in the No.10 role.

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