Man Utd injury crisis: The players Erik ten Hag is missing

The 2023/24 season has only just started but already Manchester United are nursing several injuries threatening to hamper their continued progress under Erik ten Hag.

United had to come from behind to beat Nottingham Forest 3-2 at Old Trafford, while they had previously been labelled the “new Spurs” by Roy Keane following a fairly dismal performance against…Spurs, and were lacklustre in a narrow win over Wolves to open the season.

The squad is still short in arguably every position, although midfield, goalkeeper and the centre of defence are the most pressing areas to target before the end of the transfer window. It hasn’t helped that two of the only three new signings so far are in the treatment room. Add to that some important defenders, some talented youngsters and the only back-up senior goalkeeper staying at the club.

Mason MountMason Mount

Mason Mount got injured on his second Man Utd appearance / Sebastian Frej/MB Media/GettyImages

Injury: Hamstring
When: vs Tottenham – 19 August
Out: 4-6 weeks, potentially back second half of September/early October

Mason Mount should have been in prime shape to hit the ground running this season, having secured his summer transfer from Chelsea before the start of pre-season and being involved at every stage of the summer preparations. Yet he limped out of the lacklustre team display against Tottenham.

United are hoping the England star will return after the September international break, but worst case scenario is that he won’t be back on the pitch until after the October break instead.

Luke ShawLuke Shaw

Luke Shaw’s early Man Utd career was plagued by injuries / James Gill – Danehouse/GettyImages

Injury: Muscle
When: Training – between 21/25 August
Out: “Longer than Mason”, potentially back some time in October or later

Luke Shaw only reached 40 appearances in one of his first six United seasons, yet played nearly 50 times in two of the last three campaigns. With injury problems seemingly behind him, that makes it all the more disappointing to have suffered a setback now.

United have been offered a handful of players in the transfer market as a replacement.

Raphael VaranRaphael Varan

Raphael Varane has suffered several injuries since joining United / Chloe Knott – Danehouse/GettyImages

Injury: Unspecified
When: vs Nottingham Forest – 26 August
Out: Unknown

“He had complaints and if it’s really bad I don’t know, we have to wait,” Ten Hag said after Raphael Varane had to come off at half-time against Nottingham Forest. “We didn’t want to risk him, we have Harry Maguire [or] Victor Lindelof, who could replace him, so we don’t take a risk.”

Injuries limited the Frenchman to only 46 Premier League appearances out of possible 76 across his first two seasons with the club.

Rasmus HojlundRasmus Hojlund

Rasmus Hojlnd is waiting for his Man Utd debut / James Gill – Danehouse/GettyImages

Injury: Back
When: Pre-season training with Atalanta
Out: Until at least the start of September

United committed up to £72m to sign Rasmus Hojlund, which puts an awful lot of pressure on the 20-year-old Dane, especially when Manchester City have their own prolific Scandinavian across town.

He has all the potential in the world, but fans have been delayed seeing Hojlund in action because of a pre-existing injury suffered during Atalanta’s pre-season programme and concerns over a stress fracture if he is rushed into playing before he is ready.

Tyrell MalaciaTyrell Malacia

Tyrell Malacia got injured towards the end of last season / Matt McNulty/GettyImages

Injury: Knee
When: vs Fulham – 28 May
Out: “A few weeks” – could return end of September or later

Tyrell Malacia would have been in a good position to get a run of games in the team as Luke Shaw’s chief deputy, were he not already injured himself. The Dutchman hasn’t featured at all since last season, missing the entire summer tour, but is nearing his potential return to fitness.


Kobbie Mainoo had a phenomenal pre-seasonKobbie Mainoo had a phenomenal pre-season

Kobbie Mainoo had a phenomenal pre-season / Howard Smith/ISI Photos/GettyImages

Injury: Ankle
When: vs Real Madrid (pre-season) – 26 July
Out: Two more months until mid/late October

Home-grown 18-year-old Kobbie Mainoo took pre-season by storm and had fans drooling over the opportunities he might have when the Premier League campaign got underway. Sadly, all that positive momentum was halted by an injury early in the Real Madrid friendly in Houston.

United are keen on signing another midfielder before the the transfer window closes, but hopefully it won’t harm Mainoo’s pathway once fit again going into the winter.

Amad DialloAmad Diallo

Amad Diallo was hoping to kick on in 2023/24 / Matthew Ashton – AMA/GettyImages

Injury: Knee
When: vs Arsenal (pre-season) – 3 August
Out: The “first part” of the season, potentially out until 2024

After an excellent loan spell at Sunderland last season, Amad Diallo had given himself a chance to make his mark back with United or try a loan at a higher level. But after an injury suffered during the summer tour, the Ivorian will not play again for several months – it’s a huge blow for him.

Thomas HeatonThomas Heaton

Tom Heaton will soon be the only senior goalkeeper to cover Andre Onana / Tim Clayton – Corbis/GettyImages

Injury: Calf
When: Training – 10 August
Out: First few weeks of the season

Tom Heaton was ruled out of the squad ahead of the Premier League opener against Wolves. That means Dean Henderson has been involved as back-up to Andre Onana, although a move to Crystal Palace will soon be completed for him. United are trying to sign Altay Bayindir from Fenerbahce.


On this edition of The Promised Land, part of the 90min podcast network, Scott Saunders and Rob Blanchette discuss the impact of Luke Shaw and Mason Mount’s injuries and whether Erik ten Hag shoud look to the club’s youth players for support. If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!

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