Neville, Fernandes defend Man Utd player after claims Red Devils are ‘playing with ten men’

Gary Neville and Bruno Fernandes have explained why Man Utd striker Wout Weghorst is “playing every week” after he recently came in for criticism.

The Red Devils have been in brilliant form recently with Erik ten Hag’s men climbing to within three points of second-placed Man City and five points of Premier League leaders Arsenal.

Man Utd replaced Cristiano Ronaldo with Weghorst in the January transfer window as they looked to strengthen their forward line for the second half of the season.

The 30-year-old has yet to get on the scoresheet in six Premier League starts, although he has scored in the League Cup, and beIN Sports presenter Richard Keys criticised the Dutchman over the weekend.

Keys said: “You’re playing with ten men most weeks if he’s in.

“I mean, he doesn’t do enough to justify a starting place does he? Come on, let’s be honest!”

Former Man Utd defender Neville has also questioned his inclusion at times but can also see the reasons Ten Hag continues to pick the striker.

“I love Wout Weghorst. We shouldn’t laugh, but there are times today… You have to admire Erik ten Hag picking him for every single match,” Neville said on his Sky Sports podcast after they beat Leicester City 3-0.

“I asked Ten Hag about that before the game. He feels he brings something to the team, and I can see why. Man United last season, there was this debate about whether or not they could press with Cristiano Ronaldo. They couldn’t close down from the front. They couldn’t press. You have to be able to press in the modern game.

“What Weghorst does, he’s very good in transition. He’s very good defending set-pieces. He’s very good when they’re in shape and he’s watching space. He’s doing a vital job for a team that has got a lot of attacking talent. That’s why he’s playing every week.”

And Man Utd team-mate Fernandes was full of praise for Weghorst after the Leicester match, he said: “Sometimes it’s like this, you want the ball to go in and it’s a matter of time. As a striker, you always want to score goals but he’s doing his job, doing a lot of runs that we need, the pressure that we need.

“This is why he’s still playing. It’s a matter of time until he gets his goals. After he gets the first he will open something that will give him more and more goals so he can help the team even more.”

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