Andre Onana may miss seven Man Utd matches but there’s good news for Ten Hag

Erik ten Hag not happy with decisions in the game with Arsenal

Andre Onana could miss as many as seven matches for Manchester United during the African Cup of Nations after executing a U-turn on international retirement. The Cameroon international goalkeeper, 27, had turned his back on his country after a major fallout with Indomitable Lions manager Rigobert Song at the World Cup.

But Onana has now signalled his intention to return ahead of a rescheduled AFCON which is set to be played in Ivory Coast between January 13 and February 11 early next year.

Onana’s change of mind on his international future has given another headache to United boss Erik ten Hag after a difficult start to the season.

If Cameroon get to the latter stages of AFCON he could miss four Premier League games against Tottenham, Wolves, West Ham and Aston Villa.

If United progress like they did in the domestic cups last season, the No 1 goalkeeper would also miss two legs of the Carabao Cup semi-finals and the fourth round of the FA Cup.

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After shelling out £47.2million on Onana when he was in internatonal exile in the summer, his decision will be a blow Erik ten Hag could do without. But there is still some good news for Ten Hag.

That’s because he has £4.3m summer capture Altay Bayindir as back-up after snapping up the goalkeeper from Fenerbahce. And Tom Heaton will also be back from injury by the time Onana leaves, meaning United will also have experience on the bench should it be needed.

“In the world of football, as in life, decisive moments arise that require crucial choices to be made,” said Onana.

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“My desire to represent my country has never wavered since my youth, and this aspiration remains an inseparable part of my identity. Nothing and no one can shake this conviction.”

Ten Hag last month warned Onana he must learn “when to be passive” and said: “I think he is very proactive, that is what we want. We want proactive players. But of course, he has to manage himself as well, when to be proactive and when to be passive.

“But I will encourage, I like it. Players who are proactive and on the front foot, they are the type of players we need.”

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