Erik ten Hag comments on Tyrell Malacia fitness at start of the season look very misleading now

The one question Manchester United fans have been asking all year is ‘where is Tyrell Malacia?’.

Tyrell Malacia was Erik ten Hag‘s first signing at Manchester United. It looked a shrewd move, with the club paying just £13 million to Feyenoord for the Dutch international.

Malacia had a strong first season, making 39 appearances in total, and the campaign does not deserve to be remembered for an error against Sevilla at Old Trafford. There were lots of good moments in there too, where he proved an able alternative to Luke Shaw.

But this season he has not played a single game, and United fans have been kept largely in the dark as to what was going on.

Manchester United Pre-Season Training Session
Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

What was Tyrell Malacia’s injury

Tyrell Malacia did not play in either of the team’s early pre-season games. He was not in the squad for the FA Cup final, although he did start the team’s final Premier League game of 2022/23.

Even though he had been pictured at Carrington for pre-season, United then announced Malacia was injured and would not travel on the US tour.

United were quiet about the nature of the injury, with Ten Hag only saying in August that he likened it to those suffered by

The club website reported: “Tyrell’s injury is more comparable to those suffered by Amad and Kobbie Mainoo on tour, according to Erik.

“Malacia’s will take some time, the same as Amad and Kobbie, they are really impact injuries,” Ten Hag said.

Mainoo made his return to action in October and Amad in December. Malacia is yet to make a matchday squad.

Ten Hag did not disclose a later revelation, that Malacia had undergone surgery.

The Athletic reported in late October that Malacia started training in individual sessions, doing some work with the ball in addition to fitness work. But he since suffered a setback.

Tyrell Malacia setback

It took until December for Manchester United to finally communicate properly the details of Tyrell Malacia’s injury, after he had suffered a setback.

The club revealed he had undergone an operation on a knee injury, although the specifics are yet to be disclosed.

But even then, their pledge he would be back in early 2024 is yet to come to fruition.

A club statement read: “Tyrell Malacia is on course to return to action early next year, as he recovers from a knee injury.

“The Dutch left-back has not played so far this season, following an operation over the summer. Unfortunately, he suffered a setback during his rehabilitation, which required further surgery.”

Latest Tyrell Malacia update

Manchester United issued a further update on Tyrell Malacia in early February, insisting he is nearing a return.

Erik ten Hag said: “He had setbacks during his rehab process. It takes too long, it’s bad for him. Bad for us. 

“But now we’ve turned a point and it’s positive – he will return soon on the pitch. I don’t think then it will take long before he’s returning in the team training.”

Time will tell if Ten Hag is correct. At least Manchester United are being more open.

Considering his time out, Malacia will need several weeks to get up to match fitness even when he does begin training, and United will be cautious after his setbacks.

It could be that Malacia makes just a token appearance at the end of the current season, or does not even appear at all in 2023/24.

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