Erik ten Hag is poised to hand a first Manchester United start to teenage talent Omari Forson following an untimely injury to striker Rasmus Hojlund, it has been claimed.

Danish international Hojlund has finally started to find top gear after a quiet start following his summer move from Atalanta. He has scored in each of United's last five games, with Ten Hag's team taking 13 points from a possible 15 in those fixtures.

He won't be continuing that run on Saturday, though, with United confirming a muscle injury will keep him out for two to three weeks. That's also likely to mean no Manchester Derby appearance, with Hojlund's availability for the match against Everton on March 9 also in doubt.

With Anthony Martial already out injured, Ten Hag's options in attack are limited. It seems he's ready to take a leaf out of Sir Alex Ferguson's book, though, and throw a young starlet in at the deep end.

Forson has played less than 10 minutes of senior football for United but has made quite the impression on and off the pitch. According to The Athletic, United have been working with a fluid front three of Forson, Alejandro Garnacho and Marcus Rashford in training, and could go down that route from the start.

The 19-year-old scored eight times in Premier League 2 last season, but only made his senior debut this term. He was introduced by Ten Hag as a late substitute in the FA Cup third round win against Wigan, and again against Newport County in round four.

A Premier League bow soon followed, and he made an instant impact against Wolves. It was Forson who fed fellow teenager Kobbie Mainoo for a last-gasp winner at Molineux, one of four wins on the spin for Ten Hag's side.

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England under-20 international Forson, who joined United from Tottenham's academy in 2019, was also part of the matchday squad for United's Champions League group stage defeats away to Bayern Munich and FC Copenhagen. He was an unused sub for both games, though, with most of his minutes this term coming at the age group level.

He was involved in all three goals when United's under-19s beat Galatasaray 3-0 in this season's UEFA Youth League, scoring two and creating one for Ethan Williams. He also scored twice in this season's EFL Trophy as the Under-21 squad suffered an early elimination, and scored in three straight games in Premier League 2 in September.

“I’ve learned so much – good habits on and off the pitch – and I’ve really enjoyed my time since the start of pre-season,” Forson told MUTV in August after a number of appearances in pre-season. “There’s a lot to learn – you’ve got to keep learning. The learning never stops, especially because I’m young.” Several first-team opportunities have arrived, albeit brief ones so far. Now, though, it could be time for his first big test at senior level.

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2024-02-23T19:48:52Z dg43tfdfdgfd