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Three alternatives exist for United to replace Rasmus Hojlund.

Rasmus Hojlund, a summer acquisition, might not be available for Man Utd for a few crucial games at the end of the month.

Manchester United suffers another injury setback this week. You could even make it two.

Rasmus Hojlund should return by the end of November, while Christian Eriksen will be sidelined for a month. The Danish duo withdrew from international duty after suffering setbacks in the weekend’s victory against Luton.

Following his most recent injury setback, Eriksen may miss up to seven games, but there is still hope that Hojlund may miss little to none at all.

If there are no more setbacks, it is hoped that the 20-year-old striker will return before the end of the month, having just had a “muscle strain” as opposed to a more serious injury.

If he had to miss a game, it would probably be their next one, which is on November 26 away to Everton. There’s a case to rest him right away, even if he’s fit, so he’s as fresh as possible for a crucial trip to play Galatasaray three days later.

For that journey to Istanbul, United will already be missing the suspended Marcus Rashford, and it is unthinkable that they would also be missing Hojlund, the leading scorer in the Champions League.

It demonstrates once more how dependent United is on an unproven striker who has yet to score in the Premier League and how much pressure has been placed on him as a result of larger problems with recruitment.

Though his most recent injury scare raises further concerns about his workload and United’s handling of a player who was already injured when he signed, Hojlund has demonstrated enough so far to suggest he may be a big success wearing a United shirt.

A portion of the issue has been United’s deficiency of adequate offensive substitutes. This is a problem that might resurface in the upcoming weeks.

Hojlund will need to be managed carefully and cannot be expected to play every minute of every game in the lead-up to the hectic holiday season, even if he is healthy for the away trip to Everton.

Erik ten Hag now has three alternatives up front: Anthony Martial, Rashford, or a false nine.

It is commonly known that Rashford prefers to play on the left wing, and even in his instances of success as a striker, it has usually been when he has cut inside from his preferred flank.

The 26-year-old finds it difficult to play with his back to the ball and has little room to run at his opponents. Moreover, he has only scored one goal this season, so it is not a sensible choice.

Now lacking confidence, the forward has not made the appropriate choices in the closing third and has ceased to make the menacing runs that gave him so much pleasure in the previous campaign.

Ten Hag has stated that Rashford should be able to restore that confidence in just one game; but, the more it goes on, the less likely it is.

Giving Anthony Martial another opportunity in the forward line is United’s other obvious choice, although there isn’t much data to support it.

Under Ten Hag, the Frenchman is obviously out of favor and lower on the hierarchy, and he is not deserving of another chance based on ability.

Martial has been on the bench when pressure has been applied this season, with the exception of a particularly well-taken goal against Crystal Palace in the Carabao Cup. Despite being introduced, he has not been able to leave an impression.

If United were to depend on the 27-year-old once more after his contract expires at the end of the current campaign, it would be a further indictment of their planning—not to mention if they were to extend an offer to him in response.

United’s wild card option would be to use a false nine, a tactic they have occasionally employed but haven’t had much success with under Ten Hag.

Christian Eriksen was used in that capacity in the Dutchman’s debut Premier League game in command of the team, but it wasn’t well received as they lost at home to Brighton. In a loss to Manchester City last year, Bruno Fernandes also had experience playing there, having done so under Ralf Rangnick when they needed an extra midfield player.

Most notably, Jadon Sancho appeared rather promise in the role throughout the preseason, but the management no longer sees him as an option, and it appears that he will depart the team in January.

This puts United in yet another unsettling situation. Hojlund hasn’t scored a goal in his home country, but he is unquestionably the best option going forward, with just three weak alternatives to choose from.

They may need to find a replacement quickly because there isn’t an obvious one.

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