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Four Players to Watch: Hull City v Manchester United

Manchester United will take on Hull City in the second leg of an EFL Cup tie that decides which side goes to the final to play Liverpool or Southampton. With a two-goal lead from the first leg, and travelling away in search of a vital away goal, Manchester United is in an incredibly good position to progress to the next round of the competition, and odds are, we could see some young players making rare appearances for United. On the other hand, for Hull City, they will be looking to pull off a miracle to give them a chance of cup glory in the midst of a tough period in the club’s history. For this reason, United must be wary of the threats that Hull can pose on an individual level.

Abel Hernandez, Forward, Hull City

Hernandez may have only scored four goals for Hull City this season, but he has scored three of them this January, and he has been in solid form under new manager Marco Silva. While Hernandez has hardly scored in massive games, he possesses the potential to score goals if afforded the opportunities, and he is known for his scoring ability at Championship level. Finally finding the potential form that could see him make the step up, United need be wary.

Andrew Robertson, Left-Back, Hull City

Believed to be one of the best left-back prospects in the Premier League during the season which saw Hull City relegated to the Championship, Robertson has since developed and matured, but hardly set the world alight. At the age of 22, a string of good performances could be enough to see him moving to a bigger club, and he has all the tools to do exactly that. Robertson can play in defence or further up the pitch due to his solid crossing ability, the tendency to overlap runners, and his defensive intelligence. While his strengths aren’t magnified by a Hull side that doesn’t play good attacking football, he could be an outlet from deep areas for the Tigers.

Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Midfielder, Manchester United

Timothy Fosu-Mensah has been the player most compromised by Jose Mourinho’s strange first-season youth policy of not allowing young players who don’t feature to play in the under-23 side. Mourinho seems reluctant to use the Dutchman, and I’m not sure why because he has all the tools to be a top footballer. Featuring at right-back, Fosu-Mensah produced a string of highly impressive performances off the bat for Manchester United, but he hasn’t been in the team much since Jose Mourinho was hired.

Fosu-Mensah possesses impressive physicality, with pace, height, and power, but the tactical side of his game is even better. He’s intelligent, able to read the play and find himself in the right positions to avert danger, and with tackling better than any player currently at Manchester United and passing that created chances from right-back, he has all the tools to be a regular feature at the club. Combine that with the fact he’s just 18-years-old, and you’ll begin to understand why it would be wonderful to see him against Hull on Thursday.

Jesse Lingard, Winger, Manchester United

Everyone knows that Lingard is good enough to be a high-quality utility player for Manchester United, but it has been a while since he produced a good performance, seemingly lacking the confidence to dribble past players and try the exceptional in recent weeks. Likely to start against Hull, Lingard needs to emerge as a second pace outlet very quickly, because Marcus Rashford isn’t a winger and Anthony Martial is the only other pace outlet at the club. Lingard’s average of 0.4 crosses, 0.3 long balls, and 0.1 through-balls isn’t good enough for a winger at Manchester United, but he also produces fantastic performances and moments, like the one that won United the FA Cup, but he needs to figure out how to produce them on a consistent basis as he moves into his mid-20’s. In a low-pressure fixture against Hull, he could be afforded the opportunity to showcase his talent.

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