What Graeme Souness has ‘heard’ about Manchester United squad under Erik ten Hag

Graeme Souness has backed up Wayne Rooney’s damning claim (Picture: talkSPORT)

Graeme Souness has backed Wayne Rooney’s claim that some Manchester United players are faking injuries, insisting he has ‘heard’ the same thing from a ‘reliable source’.

Rooney took aim at some of United’s absent players following their underwhelming 1-0 defeat to Arsenal on Sunday.

Ten Hag has been without several first-team stars this season, with the injury crisis at Old Trafford affecting a United team sitting just eighth in the Premier League.

But club legend Rooney claimed some players were exaggerating their injury issues to avoid playing and holding themselves back for the FA Cup final at the end of the month and this summer’s Euros.

Asked whether he believed players had stopped playing for Ten Hag, who is fighting to save his job at Old Trafford, Rooney told Sky Sports: ‘If they are then they’re not showing it very well.

‘There’s some very good players in that squad and their performances are way below par. As we look at the injuries they’ve picked up, some of those players can play. 100 per cent.

‘It’s easy you’ve got European Championships coming up, you’ve got FA [Cup] final coming up – because they’re getting a little bit of stick now.

Erik ten Hag is fighting to save his job at Old Trafford (Picture: Getty)

‘It’s easy for players to stay out of it a little bit and then come back towards the final and get themselves ready for the European Championships. 

‘I’ve seen it myself over the years so I just think the players who are being injured they’re not filling themselves with any credit at the minute and the manager’s going to take all the stick for that.’

Responding to Rooney’s comments, Souness said on talkSPORT: ‘Right now, they are bang average and that is putting it politely. The performance they put in at Palace was beyond shocking.

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‘As a group of players, they didn’t realise from the first minute to the last they didn’t realise they were playing for Manchester United. It was a miserable performance.

‘I didn’t hear Wayne Rooney say it, but he was saying that some players are not wanting to play for the first team.

‘I can tell you, without giving any comments away, I’ve heard that from someone who is a reliable source. There’s some players at Manchester United who are available to play, but are choosing not to play at this time.’

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United are just eighth – 11 points outside the top-four and 34 points behind leaders Manchester City – ahead of their penultimate league game against Newcastle on Wednesday night.

The Red Devils visit Brighton on the final day before meeting Premier League champions-elect Man City in the FA Cup final on May 25.

Ten Hag has confirmed Lisandro Martinez could feature against Newcastle and says United will monitor Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford and Willy Kambwala ahead of possible returns.

For more stories like this, check our sport page.

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