Ten Hag in serious danger of turning major Man Utd star against him, with key request ‘taking his basic rights away’

Man Utd winger Antony

Erik ten Hag has been lambasted for his handling of Antony, with a pundit claiming one of the Man Utd manager’s key requests will turn the Brazilian against him.

Antony was Manchester United’s marquee signing over the summer. Frenkie de Jong looked for the longest time like he’d take that mantle, though he was vehemently against leaving Barcelona.

A deal for £70m man Casemiro quickly ramped up when the chances of signing De Jong faded. However, it was Antony who cost the highest sum, with Ajax potentially receiving up to £86m pending future add-ons.

The tricky right winger has quickly settled into life in Manchester, notching three goals in his first three Premier League matches.

His quick adaptation should not come as a surprise given he’s playing for the same manager and in same system he excelled in at Ajax.

However, one of Ten Hag’s key changes since taking charge at Old Trafford was to get his entire team working harder.

Manchester United had been characterised by a relative lack of effort and application under prior managers.

If they’re ever to compete with the likes of Man City at the top, they cannot afford to shirk their defensive duties across all of the pitch.

No more passengers at Man Utd

Antony tracked back well in the 2-1 victory over Everton on Sunday. United ground out a vital three points to lay their derby demons from the week before to rest.

Antony’s defensive workrate was hailed by Ten Hag post-match. That came after the Sun reported he had shirked his responsibilities against Man City last week.

“In the first game, he was not always that good defending-wise but today he was really good, really disciplined,” Ten Hag said of Antony (via the Manchester Evening News).

“He had good positioning, good anticipation, so he had quite an impact on this team’s performance.”

However, asking Antony to be diligent in his own half has not gone down well with one observer.

Speaking to Football Insider, pundit Frank McAvennie lambasted Ten Hag for effectively neutering his explosive forward.

What’s more, the former West Ham and Celtic striker claimed it won’t be long before Antony gets “fed up” with Ten Hag’s demand.

Antony being held back by Ten Hag?

The former Scotland international said: “I have seen him just outside the box and firing the ball up the pitch and I think ‘what are you doing back there?’

“It is alright chasing somebody back but you can’t do that all the time. He is an attacking player who is chasing it and having to boot it up the park to nobody.

“I get fighting for the team and getting back. But when you pay that kind of money for an attacking player you want him up there doing things that he is supposed to.

“It is taking his basic rights away. He will get fed up with it. It is alright doing it and helping your teammates once or twice but you can’t do it all the time.”

Does McAvennie have a point?

The pundit may have had a point if Antony wasn’t affecting the game going forward. However, Antony’s three goals in three league matches so far suggest he’s even more potent than in Amsterdam.

What’s more, Ten Hag’s tactics closely mirror those he deployed at Ajax.

While it’s fair to say his forwards were given slightly more freedom given Ajax are able to dominate Dutch football, the likes of Antony were still tasked with tracking back.

Defensive duties are therefore no stranger to Antony. It stands to reason he knew he’d be asked to contribute in his own half upon signing for Ten Hag at Manchester United.

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