Erik ten Hag ‘tactical’ error with Man Utd player bemuses Paul Merson – ‘what is he thinking?’

Lewis Oldham
Merson questions Ten Hag

Paul Merson is bemused that Erik ten Hag has opted to use Manchester United striker Wout Weghorst as a number 10 in recent games.

Weghorst joined the Red Devils in January on a loan deal until the summer from Championship leaders Burnley.

The striker was in great form while on loan at Besiktas at the start of this season and he is viewed as a short-term solution for United before they recruit a permanent replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo during the summer transfer window later this year.

The Netherlands international has been used as a makeshift number ten of late. This has worked against Barcelona as Man Utd advanced in the Europa League.

But he was among the players who struggled as Liverpool hammered United 7-0 at Anfield over the weekend.

Merson has now questioned Ten Hag’s decision to use Weghorst in more of a supporting role. The pundit feels that the head coach should not be “getting away” with this call.

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“The manager, for me, has been getting away with it. Yes, he’s done great in a way. But Wout Weghorst as a No 10, I’m not having that. How is he a No 10? How is the manager getting away with that?” Merson asked (quotes via The Daily Mail).

“It’s Manchester United Football Club and you’ve got Weghorst as a 10 – he can’t turn and run, he can’t pass through the eye of a needle.

“What is he thinking? I’m not blaming Ten Hag because they lost, but why play Marcus Rashford against (star centre back) Virgil van Dijk?He plays out wide every week.

“You’ve got Liverpool’s weakest defender in Trent Alexander-Arnold having a free ride. Trent wouldn’t have believed his luck.

“Man Utd got it tactically wrong. I couldn’t believe it when I saw the set-up of the team – there is only one manager who could have got away with that and that is Ten Hag.”

Weghorst has also been criticised for his off-the-field matters. Some have hit out at him after he was caught touching the ‘This is Anfield’ sign before the game against Liverpool.

The forward has come out and defended this act as he simply did it to “wind up” his Netherlands teammate Virgil van Dijk. 

Gabby Agbonlahor has leapt to the defence of Weghorst as he feels “it’s pathetic” that he is being scrutinised for touching the Anfield sign.

“I think it’s pathetic,” Agbonlahor told talkSPORT. “I touched it when I played at Anfield, it’s not a problem, to wind up the opposition.

“It’s a bit of banter between teams, it’s nothing. Weghorst shouldn’t have to bring a statement out, to be honest.”

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