Erik ten Hag has made his true feelings about Antony clear after naming the Brazilian on the Manchester United bench for the second successive game. Antony has been left out of the starting line-up five times in United’s last seven games and isn’t part of Ten Hag’s strongest attacking trio.
The Dutchman pushed to reunite with Antony after leaving Ajax to enter the Old Trafford hot seat in the summer of 2020.
United eventually coughed up £86million to recruit the 23-year-old winger, making him the club’s second-most expensive signing after the £89m capture of Paul Pogba.
However, Antony has failed to impress during his first year-and-a-half in England, registering nine goals and four assists in 68 United appearances.
His goal and assist against League Two Newport County in the FA Cup fourth round were his only direct contributions in 24 games this season.
In his programme notes for Sunday’s Premier League clash against West Ham United, Ten Hag hailed Antony for his involvement in the 4-2 win at Rodney Parade.
“Antony will take a big boost from scoring his first of the season,” Ten Hag wrote.
“Since he also assisted Bruno’s opener and looked a real threat throughout the game, I hope he will continue to grow in confidence and show us even more of his undoubted ability.”
Ten Hag’s praise of Antony came before Thursday’s dramatic 4-3 triumph against Wolves at Molineux, though. And the struggling star did more damage than good after replacing Marcus Rashford in the 73rd minute.
Antony took 16 touches, won three of seven ground duels, lost the ball six times, completed just two of four attempted passes and failed three of four attempted take-ons.
One of them launched the counter-attack that ended with Pedro Neto firing Wolves level in the 95th minute.
Kobbie Mainoo, who has scored more goals in his last two games than Antony has all season, rescued the visitors with an incredible solo strike shortly after.