There are sixteen of Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United players that are set to take to the pitches in Qatar for this winter’s World Cup, however, in this list we will cover five that could have a massive impact for their respective countries.
Under Ten Hag this season Casemiro has been an ever-present figure since his arrival from Real Madrid in the summer. His positional awareness and his strong defensive capabilities have allowed him to be a stalwart in the United midfield this season.
In addition to his strong defensive presence, he has shown flashes of brilliance when it comes to his forward play with a late equalizer against Chelsealast month.
Brazil will have plenty of options in the midfield, however, Casemiro’s experience in the national team set up and previous tournament, coupled with his recent form should ensure that he will be his nation’s go-to midfielder this winter as he looks to dominate the midfield against the likes of Serbia, Switzerland and Cameroon in Group G.
The first of the two players headed to the Middle East this winter, who are representing England. Rashford will be taking part in his third tournament for the Three Lions where he will be looking to re-establish himself as a household name in Southgate’s setup, having only been called up for the first time since his fateful penalty miss in the Euro 2020 final versus Italy.
With Harry Kane also in fine form, it is unlikely that Rashford will start, however, his versatility in being able to play on the left side as a winger may aid his chances of featuring in the tournament, let alone not taking into consideration his recent up-turn in form as of lately. 11 goal contributions in the first half of the season across all competitions left Southgate no choice but to take him to Qatar where his presence coming off the bench where games could possibly go the full distance could be vital for England’s hopes of reaching another major international final.
Arguably one of England’s top performers at the Three Lion’s last international tournament, scoring the opener in an eventual loss to Italy after a heart-breaking penalty shootout.
Despite minutes this season being sparse on a domestic front, Shaw seems to be favoured by Southgate who will be hoping he can come up with the some more magic this winter and put in the same level of performances he did last year. There is no doubt that Shaw will likely feature loads for England as he is the only natural left-back in the entirety of the squad, with the right-sided full back, Trippier also capable filling in at left-back.
If Shaw can manage to regain his fitness and sharpness before the tournament starts, there is no reason why Shaw can’t add to the already impressively strong backline of England, which would help them massively if he can manage to stay fit for the entirety of the tournament.
Despite a slow start to this season, the world knows what Fernandes in top form is capable of. His link up play with the likes of Bernardo Silva, Rafael Leao and Joao Felix might be the key to leading Portugal to their first FIFA World Cup trophy this winter.
His eye for a pass and pinpoint precision will be a force to be reckoned with and a successful World Cup whether that be from an individual perspective, or a team perspective might see Fernandes return to Old Trafford filled with confidence and ready to put up impressive numbers in the second half of the season.
Boasting an average of 2.54 key passes per 90 minutes this season despite seemingly struggling in terms of form, there is no doubt that with Portugal’s attacking options playing ahead of him such as Leao and Felix there are goals guaranteed and in plentiful amounts.
And finally, arguably United’s signing of the season so far rounds off this list.
Despite struggling to adapt to life at Old Trafford, Martinez has come of age as of late and has become a valuable asset to United’s backline and there is very little reason to doubt that he won’t do the same this winter at the World Cup.
With Argentina being touted as one of the favourites to reach the final and ultimately lift the Jules Rimet trophy, comes great pressure, Martinez has already shown as of late that he can marshal the backline and subdue forthcoming pressure from opposition.
Despite his young age, as United fans know by now, he is mature beyond a few years. He also possesses a very useful ball playing ability and excels in aerial duels, whilst his Argentinian counterpart Romero excels at one-on-one defending and making important tackles, two styles which are completely different and allow Argentina to approach their fixtures differently due to the versatility of their two star defenders.
With Martinez putting up solid defensive numbers towards the end of the first half of United’s Premier League campaign, there is no doubt that many will be watching on as his Argentina side look destined for their shot at international success.