"I can't answer that question now" - Erik ten Hag unsure when Manchester United's defensive duo will return to the club

Erik ten Hag unsure when Manchester United
Erik ten Hag unsure when Manchester United's defensive duo will return to the club

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag is unsure when his defensive duo Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez will return to the club.

Both defenders made it to the 2022 FIFA World Cup final, with Lisandro Martinez's Argentina defeating Raphael Varane's France on penalties following a 3-3 thriller after 120 minutes.

Martinez is currently back in his homeland Argentina to celebrate La Albiceleste's third FIFA World Cup triumph.

On being asked about the Argentine's scheduled return to the club, Erik ten Hag has refused to mention a date. The Manchester United manager has claimed that he understood what it means for his defender to be part of a World Cup-winning squad.

Ten Hag said, as quoted by the Manchester Evening News:

"I can't answer that question now. He’s still celebrating in Argentina, in Buenos Aires, he's on the tour going around in Buenos Aires! I can understand that, it’s very emotional, very loaded when you win the World Cup [and bring it] into your country, it's magnificent, it's the highest you can achieve.
"But Licha Martinez also has to accept that on the 27th, the Premier League will go on."
Lisandro Martinez hugs Varane as he goes to collect his World Cup silver medal 🔴❤️

Ten Hag has also urged Varane to put the disappointment of losing the World Cup behind him and congratulated him for going all the way to the final. He added:

"Varane, of course, is disappointed about losing the final but he can also be proud of being in the final again and all that he has achieved in his career is massive, as a team and a player, to win so many trophies."
"He is second and he can still be proud. Getting to the final is a big achievement because the level of the nations was so close."

Manchester United will return to Premier League action on Tuesday (27 December) with a home game against Nottingham Forest. The Red Devils are currently stretched at the back. Casemiro had to fill in at centre-back against Burnley in the League Cup victory on Wednesday night (21 December).

Manchester United told to avoid making move for 2022 FIFA World Cup winner

Former Tottenham Hotspur and England goalkeeper Paul Robinson has urged Manchester United to avoid making a move for Emiliano Martinez. The Aston Villa goalkeeper played a key role for Argentina, leading them to their third FIFA World Cup trophy.

However, Robinson has claimed that Martinez is not an elite keeper and won't be a good fit at clubs like Manchester United or Tottenham Hotspur. He told Football Insider:

"I do not think he is at that elite level. He has done extremely well in his career to get to where he is. To win a World Cup is amazing and he was brilliant in the final. Is he in that top bracket of goalkeepers though? Not for me."
"He is a great character and a great goalkeeper but he is not an elite goalkeeper. I think United and Spurs need to sign an elite goalkeeper. They need one of the world's best. They need a goalkeeper on par with Alisson Becker and Ederson. They are the benchmark."
Argentina since @EmiMartinezz1 made his international debut on June 3, 2021:🏆 2021 Copa América winners🏆 2022 Finalissima winners🏆 2022 World Cup winnersWe are so proud of you, Emi. 👏

Robinson continued:

"There is a reason why Arsenal sold him. He played there under many managers as well. It was not as if there were great goalkeepers ahead of him. That tells you a lot about him as a player."

Manchester United are currently looking for a new goalkeeper with David de Gea set to become a free agent next summer.

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Edited by Ritwik Kumar
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