Erik ten Hag confirms long-term Man Utd injury absentee is close to return

  • Tyrell Malacia has not played in 2023/24 so far due to persistent knee injury
  • Additional Luke Shaw absence made life difficult for Ten Hag at the start of the season
  • However, Dutch defender is nearing full fitness again

Ten Hag could welcome a defender back from injury soon
Ten Hag could welcome a defender back from injury soon / Graham Denholm/GettyImages

Erik ten Hag has revealed long-term Manchester United injury absentee Tyrell Malacia is finally nearing a return to matchday selection.

Dutch left-back Malacia signed for the Red Devils in 2022 from Ajax and made 39 appearances in his debut season as a first-team regular.

He reportedly played through pain last season before having surgery on his knee. However, Malacia suffered a setback in his rehabilitation which required a second operation, meaning he is yet to play in 2023/24.

Ahead of Man Utd's trip to Luton Town on Sunday, Ten Hag gave an update on the 24-year-old, who last played for the club against Fulham on the final day of last season.

He said: "He had setbacks during his rehab process. It takes too long, it's bad for him. Bad for us.

"But now we've turned a point and it's positive - he will return soon on the pitch. I don't think then it will take long before he's returning in the team training."

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Malacia's absence earlier in the season coincided with Luke Shaw missing 16 games due to a muscle problem, leaving Ten Hag without an established left-back in his starting XI. United signed Sergio Reguilon as emergency cover on a loan which has since ended, while the likes of Victor Lindelof and Sofyan Amrabat have filled in on occasion.

Shaw himself is a doubt for Sunday's game having been substituted at half-time of the 2-1 win over Aston Villa last week with an injury complaint.

Elsewhere in the Man Utd squad, Lisandro Martinez is back on the sidelines with a knee injury, while £60m summer signing Mason Mount remains a few weeks away with a niggling calf problem.

Ten Hag will hope to have Malacia and Mount available soon as he aims to continue overseeing United's recent excellent form. They have risen to sixth in the Premier League table, six points behind Tottenham who currently occupy fourth, thanks to wins over Wolves, West Ham and Villa.