Erik ten Hag reveals injured Man Utd star asked to play against Arsenal | Football

Erik ten Hag’s Man Utd face Arsenal this weekend (Picture: Getty)

Erik ten Hag has revealed he had to turn down Lisandro Martinez’s request to feature in Manchester United’s upcoming Premier League clash with Arsenal.

Ten Hag has been hit by an injury crisis in recent weeks, with several first-team defenders – including Martinez – sidelined with various issues.

The injuries have forced Brazilian midfielder Casemiro to drop into defence but he was badly exposed in the 4-0 defeat to Crystal Palace in a game that Jamie Carragher claimed proved he could no longer perform at an elite level.

Argentine centre-back Martinez is closing in on a return from the treatment room, having featured in March’s draw with Brentford only to then miss United’s next seven games with a reoccurring issue.

Ten Hag revealed Martinez has asked to feature in Sunday’s clash against Premier League leaders Arsenal at Old Trafford but says he had to reject the request as he’s still not ready.

‘Yesterday, Licha [Lisandro Martinez] came to me and wanted to play on Sunday against Arsenal but he’s not ready yet,’ Ten Hag said at his pre-match press conference.

‘He needs a little bit more time to go through the process, but he is so desperate.

Lisandro Martinez in Man Utd training

Lisandro Martinez is closing in on a return (Picture: Getty)

‘I just tried to explain to him but he misses it so much, the team missed him. He wants to play but he had three injuries across the season and now he is almost there, injury free, by the end of the healing process but now he has to get back into team training.

‘I will never gamble with a player, never. It’s about them, their futures, it’s most important about their careers and the club is the most important, but the safety, health of the player is high level.’

Manchester United desperately need to find some form ahead of a FA Cup final against Manchester City at the end of the month, even if picking up points against Arsenal would boost City’s title hopes.

United are just eighth in the Premier League ahead of the visit of Arsenal, who are bidding to win their first league title since 2004.

Arsenal came from behind to beat Manchester United 3-1 in the reverse fixture in September, with Declan Rice and Gabriel Jesus both scoring injury-time goals in the entertaining victory.

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