Manchester United Erik ten Hag explains 24-year-old defender Tyrell Malacia injury update that lasted throughout the season

Tyrell Malacia, despite an impressive debut season in England, has not played a single minute for Manchester United this year.

Manager Erik ten Hag recently provided updates on Malacia, shedding light on the unfortunate circumstances surrounding the 24-year-old defender. Malacia, who joined United from Feyenoord for £13 million, underwent knee meniscus surgery last summer and has been sidelined ever since.

Malacia made a significant impact in his first season, appearing 39 times and contributing to Manchester United’s Carabao Cup victory and third-place finish in the Premier League. However, his absence this season has left a noticeable gap in United’s defense. Luke Shaw, plagued by his own series of injuries, has struggled to fill the void, occasionally necessitating makeshift solutions such as using Antony in the left-back position.

Ten Hag, in a reflection reported by the media, expressed his frustration and disappointment. He stated, “Malacia hasn’t played at all this season. He hasn’t even been to practice once.” This statement underscores the severity of Malacia’s condition and the impact on the team’s defensive stability.

The manager elaborated on the initial strategy behind acquiring Malacia, which was to provide robust backup for Luke Shaw. “At the beginning of last season, we brought in Malacia specifically to back up Luke Shaw. These two options had to give us a lot. There was a great idea to have Malacia, and he did great last season, but we never had him this season,” Ten Hag explained.

Reflecting on the broader challenges, Ten Hag remarked, “By far, this is the hardest season I’ve ever had. Overall, I’ve talked to the club doctor more than anyone else in the organization this season. That pretty much says it all.” This statement highlights the unprecedented injury woes that have plagued the team throughout the season.

Addressing Shaw’s situation, Ten Hag acknowledged his exceptional talent but also noted the limitations imposed by his past injuries. “Shaw is the best left back in the world, he is so good,” he said. “A very bad accident happened to him at the start of his career, though. He will never be able to play 60 games in a year again because of this…”

With Ten Hag’s contract set to expire next year, his future at Old Trafford is currently uncertain. Despite having 12 months remaining on his contract, United have been exploring potential replacements for the Dutchman. As the summer transfer window approaches, the club faces pressing decisions, with Sir Jim Ratcliffe needing to make a decisive choice soon.

Speaking to BBC One after leading Liverpool to FA Cup glory last month, Ten Hag emphasized his focus on team development. “The only thing I’m doing is preparing my team, developing my team,” he said. Reflecting on his tenure, he added, “I can say it was a mess when I walked in. Our health has improved. The place we want to be is not here. Playing football is all about getting prizes. Ultimately, I want to play the best football—dynamic, attacking football—but I also need to win games and prizes.”

Ten Hag concluded by expressing his pride in the team’s resilience and achievements despite the challenges faced. “We brought that way of thinking in. We took advantage of this one chance. I’m proud of the team and players,” he said, signaling his commitment to the club’s vision and the ongoing pursuit of excellence.

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