Andre Onana’s start to life at Manchester United has been underwhelming, and this actually started during talks with Erik ten Hag ahead of his arrival, according to reports.
Onana’s form in recent months will have no doubt frustrated Ten Hag, but perhaps not more so than his National team U-turn.
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The 27-year-old has conceded 20 goals in his first 12 United games, keeping only three clean sheets.
And he produced some high-profile blunders, raising questions over Ten Hag’s decision to offload David de Gea to reunite with the former Barcelona, Ajax and Inter star.
The Dutchman may believe that Onana’s struggles stem from trying to balance too much while taking on the huge task of replacing De Gea after 11 years as United’s No 1.
According to GiveMeSport, Ten Hag felt Onana should’ve focused on laying the early foundations of a successful career at United rather than returning to international duty.
The Cameroon shot-stopper made a U-turn on international retirement in the September break, having retired after his fall-out with manager Rigobert Song at the 2022 World Cup.
But upon returning from Cameroon’s key Africa Cup of Nations qualifying win against Burundi, Onana suffered blunders in defeats to Brighton and Bayern Munich.
But, Onana arguably produced his best United performance in Saturday’s 2-1 win against Sheffield United days after facing Senegal in the October international break.
The Red Devils star made an array of crucial saves and came agonisingly close to denying Oli McBurnie from the penalty spot.
And his upturn in form may be down to a special request Ten Hag has made to help him improve his fortunes between the sticks.
The report adds that Ten Hag told Onana to take fewer risks while playing out from the back until he has his first-choice defence back ahead of him.
Onana’s struggles have been compounded by a mix-and-match of defenders ahead of him amid the injury crisis early in the campaign.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez and Luke Shaw started the campaign as Ten Hag’s starting backline, but all four have suffered a major spell on the sidelines already.
Onana hasn’t decided whether to play at AFCON in the new year. But Ten Hag is confident that snubbing Song and returning first-choice defenders will spark more improvement.