MAN UTD'S FORGOTTEN STAR MISSES START OF PRE-SEASON AS ERIK TEN HAG FACES FRESH QUESTIONS

Questions remain over the future of Manchester United defender Tyrell Malacia after he was nowhere to be seen for the start of pre-season training.

Former Feyenoord defender Malacia was Erik ten Hag's first United signing when he joined in the summer of 2022. He played 39 times during his first season in England, but failed to make a single appearance in an injury-hit second year.

United have begun pre-season training this week, though not everyone is back on base. Those involved for their national teams at Euro 2024 or the Copa America have some extra time off, even if their sides have already been eliminated from the continental competitions.

That means the likes of Bruno Fernandes and Diogo Dalot have some extra time to recover. Malacia's absence, however, doesn't fall under that description.

According to the Manchester Evening News, Malacia and Jadon Sancho were the only senior players unaccounted for when the first squad members returned. While Sancho's future may lie away from Old Trafford after he finished last season on loan at Borussia Dortmund, Malacia has not been linked with a summer exit.

Instead, he is understood to need additional time to recover on his latest injury setback. The left-back has faced a lengthy rehab after surgeries to treat a knee injury, having last featured for the first team on the final day of the 2022-23 season, and Ten Hag noted Malacia hadn't even made it onto the training ground last term.

“We had recruited Malacia at the start of last season precisely as a back-up for Luke Shaw, those two options had to bring us a lot," Ten Hag said after the 2023-24 campaign came to a close. "The idea with Malacia was very good, and he just did well last season, but this season we never had him.

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Malacia's absence last season was compounded by Luke Shaw's injury issues. The England international only managed 12 league appearances last term, with Sergio Reguilon providing cover after a loan move and Sofyan Amrabat among those to fill in at left-back despite their natural position being elsewhere.

Shaw last featured for United in February, when he played 45 minutes against Luton in the Premier League. He was deemed fit enough to be included in England's Euro 2024 squad, though, and returned from the bench against Switzerland in the quarter-finals.

Speaking to reporters in Germany, Shaw indicated he was happy United have kept faith with manager Ten Hag. “Everyone is very pleased with him staying," he said. "I spoke to him a couple of times recently - it wasn't really a surprise, he was always going to sign.

“Everyone is very pleased. Look at the last two years, he's had a trophy in each season. He's had a bit of success and there is definitely more to come.”

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