Erik ten Hag to fight for Man Utd star in Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s ‘firing line’ | Football | Sport

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Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag will resist plans to sell Antony in the summer despite the winger being placed in the ‘firing line’ by Sir Jim Ratcliffe, according to reports. Antony has failed to impress since joining United two years ago, with the 23-year-old yet to score or provide an assist in the Premier League this season.

It has been reported that Antony is one of several players who could be sold by Ratcliffe in the summer, with the INEOS chief having assumed control of football operations at Old Trafford. However, it seems Ten Hag is determined to keep Antony in the hope that he will eventually live up to his potential.

The United boss will resist attempts to offload the winger despite Ratcliffe having earmarked him as a saleable asset, according to Steven Bates. It is said that Ten Hag wants to give Antony more chances to impress as he is not yet prepared to give up on him despite ‘wanting more’ from his performances.

Ten Hag previously worked with Antony at Ajax, where he excelled before following his manager to Old Trafford in the summer of 2022. He remains tied down to United until 2027, having signed a long-term deal upon his arrival for a transfer fee of around £81million.

Speaking last month, Ten Hag said of Antony: “First year he was OK, in the pre-season he was very OK, first four games [of this season] he was very good, but from the moment he was out and then he came back, he didn’t deliver the performance we should expect from him and he can do so much better.

“His end product in Ajax was very high and he could return to that level. The Premier League is more difficult but he’s capable of doing that.”

Antony, meanwhile, recently hit out at criticism from ‘former club players’ after being singled out by the likes of Dimitar Berbatov, Roy Keane and Gary Neville earlier this season. Speaking to The United Stand, he said: “Pressure has always been with us for those who play in big clubs, especially regarding United.

“My life has always been very challenging, and I have had to go through many situations that many cannot imagine. I grew up in a hostile place, where eating, having a good house, having the internet, and access to a good education were a privilege. I would say that for us on the ‘favelas,’ all of these were a luxury few people could have.

“This was a period in which I learned to deal with pressure and challenges. The pressure of life. Today, I see criticism coming from former club players and other people in the media, who unreasonably express their opinions and influence thousands of fans, sometimes even when I do not play. I’ve never seen them give constructive criticism, which will help me be a better professional.”

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