Man Utd train in Perth rain ahead of Aston Villa friendly
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Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag did not mince his words as he criticised Zidane Iqbal with a foul-mouthed outburst during a pre-season training session in Australia. The Red Devils are currently gearing up to face Aston Villa in a friendly in Perth later this week as they step up their preparations for the return of Premier League football under the watchful eye of their new Dutch manager.
A number of United’s academy graduates are involved with the first-team squad in Australia, with Iqbal among those to have been called up by Ten Hag for the club’s pre-season tour. The young midfielder faced his manager’s wrath as the 13-time Premier League champions trained on Thursday, though, after failing to match expectations at one point during the session.
“Keep the ball on the floor! Zidane! Hey! Keep the ball on the floor,” shouted Ten Hag as he watched his players take part in a drill. “F****** rubbish!”
Ten Hag also found himself in the spotlight during United’s recent friendly win over Crystal Palace for screaming obscenities in the direction of Charlie Savage, who is regarded as one of the club’s finest young prospects and has featured regularly at first-team level since the beginning of pre-season. However, the United boss is said to have been left impressed by his squad’s teenage contingent and it remains to be seen whether his strategy of tough love will help them to bridge the gap over the coming weeks and months.
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United legend Rio Ferdinand recently singled out Iqbal and Savage for special praise by insisting that Ten Hag will have plenty of decisions to make regarding their chances of playing senior football on a consistent basis when the new season finally gets underway.
“I’ve watched the last two pre-season friendlies and the young lads in midfield there, Charlie Savage has been excellent, Zidane’s been very good as well,” Ferdinand told Vibe with Five.
“So I think it’s good food for thought. It’s always that way in pre-season, you get a couple of players who come out of nowhere and you go: ‘I didn’t expect that from them’.
“I remember Jesse Lingard all those years ago when David Moyes came and I remember Moyes saying: ‘Rio, I didn’t realise Jesse Lingard was that good’.
“[Wilfried] Zaha was brilliant in pre-season, it didn’t quite work out for him in the long run but you can get your opportunity in pre-season and fly. I’m excited about some of the young players getting opportunities in pre-season, it’s good.”
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