Manchester United’s injury concerns have deepened before the final international break of the year gets underway after Christian Eriksen and Rasmus Hojlund both withdrew from the Denmark squad.
Veteran midfielder Eriksen and young striker Hojlund were both substituted during Saturday’s narrow win against Luton Town at Old Trafford.
And they have subsequently pulled out of the final set of Euro 2024 qualifiers against Slovenia and Northern Ireland with the Danes still not guaranteed of their spot at next summer’s tournament. Slovenia lead the group on goal difference. The United pair have been replaced by Jens Stryger Larsen and Jesper Lindstrom in the squad.
Eriksen was withdrawn approaching half-time against Luton because of a knee problem, while Hojlund limped off late on clutching a hamstring. Immediately after the match United head coach Erik ten Hag was unable to provide any clarity around the severity of their respective injuries.
“In this moment, I can’t tell anything about it because I don’t know,” Ten Hag said. “We do an assessment and we have to wait 24 hours for the conclusion. So we’ll give the medical team 24 hours to see what the problem is – if there is a problem.”
But Ten Hag defended 20-year-old striker Hojlund after he missed a sitter to extend his wait for a first Premier League goal. The £72million summer signing has been prolific in United’s inconsistent Champions League campaign, scoring five times in four matches, but has not translated that into domestic action.
Speaking to Match of the Day, the United boss said he wished United had killed Luton off with a second goal on Saturday afternoon but defended Hojlund.
He said: “Rasmus Hojlund has scored five times in the Champions League. He has the confidence and the goals will come. It would be better for composure, for the calmness, for the manager, the coaches and the team if we score early on, but if you don’t you have to keep going.
“I have to compliment the team that they kept going, kept organised and didn’t give anything away. We have three away games – all big games – and we have to get ready for that. Hopefully, the players stay fit in their international duties. We get ready for that. A lot of work to do.”
United have a number of other stars sidelined by injury, including Casemiro, Luke Shaw and Lisandro Martinez. Despite losing five of their opening 12 league games (in addition to three from four in Europe), they now sit sixth in the table and have accumulated the most points from the past half dozen fixtures.