Fred could replace Christian Eriksen if injury keeps Dane out

Manchester United fans have been left worried after seeing Christian Eriksen leaving Old Trafford on crutches after Saturday’s FA Cup fourth round win over Reading. The Dane has been a key player since he arrival as a free agent in the summer.

Eriksen looked to be in plenty of discomfort following a nasty challenge from Reading striker Andy Carroll, who was later sent off in the match. The Denmark international was spotted wearing a protective boot after the match but Erik ten Hag was unable to provide an update on the extent of the injury.

That means we still don’t know how serious Eriksen’s injury is, but Ten Hag is due to speak to the media on Tuesday afternoon, prior to United’s Carabao Cup semi-final second leg against Nottingham Forest.

It doesn’t look good that he required crutches and it raises a question or two about who Ten Hag will use to replace the 30-year-old.

Ten Hag’s previous comments suggest that he has a direct replacement in mind for Eriksen. Ahead of the game against Everton, Ten Hag explained why Fred should come in for the former Tottenham Hotspur star.

Speaking to club media before the FA Cup third round tie, Ten Hag told “We emphasise a lot of times that we’ve often had players who score goals when they come on from the bench, like Fred did last week [vs Nottingham Forest]. Every time when he’s coming on, he’s ready.

“He’s front foot and he brings the right quality to the game. That is great to have that as a team and as a manager.”

He added: “Of course, Fred wants to play every game. “That’s not always possible and everyone has to battle for his position but there’s good competition in the squad to play and to get into the starting XI, but, once again, we need those players coming from the bench and giving impact to the game.

“Definitely, Fred is the one – there are others as well, but Fred is the example.”

Fred has featured more regularly since the World Cup winter break and his contributions have been positive. The Brazilian could argue that he deserves a run in the team.

Meanwhile, others could make an argument for Scott McTominay, but we think Ten Hag’s comments suggest he will give Fred a run in the team if Eriksen is ruled out for a spell.