Man Utd defender admits he ‘wants to play games’ amid reduced role under Erik ten Hag

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag may lose one of the club’s long-serving defenders this summer because Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez is his preferred partnership at centre-back.

The Dutchman has overseen a dramatic upturn in fortunes at Old Trafford, leading United to Carabao Cup glory against Newcastle United, the last eight of the Europa League, the FA Cup semi-finals and third in the Premier League.

Ten Hag has kept things relatively simple in terms of team selection, making a number of signings to strengthen his squad before settling on a preferred starting lineup.

One casualty of Ten Hag’s rebuild has been central defender Victor Lindelof, who alongside Harry Maguire has been demoted to cup and European duties behind the preferred duo of Varane and Martinez.

The Swede was the subject of a loan offer from Inter during the January transfer window, but Ten Hag opted to keep hold of his Lindelof owing to United’s hectic fixture schedule and the fact they have been competing in four competitions.

Speaking to the press ahead of Sweden’s opening Euro 2024 qualifier against Belgium, Lindelof opened up on his lack of Premier League game time and admitted that decisions will need to be made on his future this summer.

“Of course like every player, you want to play every game and obviously I haven’t done that this season,” he said. “But like I always say when I come here [international duty], it’s a pleasure to be here and I’m always happy to represent my country.

“I’m really looking forward to the games that we have and I spoke to Janne [Sweden’s manager] before to say I was really looking forward to coming here and to perform, and to be on the pitch with the guys again.

“Like I said, I want to play, that’s why I play football, I want to play games, but I haven’t thought about that [transfer away], right now I’m just focusing on the national team and then of course, the rest of the season with the club. Then in the summer we’ll re-evaluate and see what is best.”

Who could Victor Lindelof join if he leaves Man Utd?

Inter’s interest in Lindelof is unlikely to have wavered, especially as Milan Skriniar is almost certain to depart the club on a free transfer this summer.

The Nerazzurri operate with three central defenders, which could potentially lead to increased minutes for Lindelof, but a move to Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid has also been mooted. The Argentine coach is known for improving defenders with his tactical acumen, and a move to the Spanish capital could represent an interesting option for the 28-year-old.

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