Little-known rule has blocked Erik ten Hag from calling up Man Utd wonderkid to solve injury crisis

Little-known rule has blocked Erik ten Hag from calling up Man Utd wonderkid to solve injury crisis

The teenager signed a professional deal with United in 2023.

Manchester United defender Sonny Aljofree has been blocked from receiving a dream call-up to the senior squad because of a little-known rule.

The 19-year-old has featured heavily for the Red Devils‘ Under-21 side this season and has watched fellow centre-back Willy Kambwala make his breakthrough.

Another hot prospect from the Carrington production line, the Plymouth-born defender has seen his progress halted due no fault of his own.

Aljofree is unable to play for United this season due to being on a joint registration deal with National League outfit Altrincham.

It means he can play for United’s U21 side but is ineligible for the first team.

The most bizarre part is that despite being on loan, the teenager has not yet made an appearance for the fifth-tier promotion chasers.

A standout performer at academy level, it is a shame as the issue couldn’t have come at a more costly time.

Harry Maguire and Kambwala remain the only two fit first-team centre-backs currently available.

According to The Sun, Aljofree would have been on the bench at least and might even have started the recent FA Cup clash with Liverpool.

Sonny Aljofree has regularly trained with United's first team.

Sonny Aljofree has regularly trained with United’s first team.

Lisandro Martinez, Raphael Varane, Victor Lindelof and Jonny Evans are all currently sidelined, with a crucial FA Cup semi-final against Coventry approaching.

Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia are also both out of action, as well as Anthony Martial.

In what has been a testing season for Erik ten Hag, calling upon youth has been a go-to option for the Dutchman.

Harry Amass, Habeeb Ogunneye and Ethan Wheatley have all featured on the substitutes bench as of late.

“We will keep fighting with the players who are available,” Ten Hag said after the 2-2 draw at Bournemouth.

“And you see there is high potential, but also young players.

“Yeah, they make mistakes and if they have to perform every Premier League [game] and they proved they can compete with the best teams on the highest level.

“They proved [this] but now they have to do it consistently and that is always the next step for young players.”

Featured Image Credit: Getty

Topics: Erik Ten Hag, Manchester United, Premier League

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