LONDON: Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag declined to comment on Mason Greenwood on Friday, 24 hours after criminal charges against the 21-year-old forward were dropped.
Greenwood had been facing charges including attempted rape and assault, but prosecutors said the case had been discontinued following the withdrawal of key witnesses and “new material that came to light”.
United issued a statement on Thursday saying the club would now “conduct its own process before determining next steps”.
In a short statement released on his behalf, Greenwood said he was “relieved the matter is now over”.
At his pre-match press conference on Friday, Ten Hag refused to be drawn on the subject.
“I can’t add anything,“ said the Dutch manager, in his first season at Old Trafford. “I refer to the statement of the club.
“In this moment, I can’t give comment about the process. I can’t say anything about it, I refer to the statement of the club and at this moment I can’t add anything.”
England forward Greenwood, who has two and a half years left on his contract, has been suspended from both training and playing for United since his arrest in January 2022.
Ten Hag said despite the development, United were firmly focused on Saturday’s game against Crystal Palace, who held his team to a 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park last month.
“We have always to focus on the game, no matter what -- it is our job,“ he said. “That is why we are here.
“We have a lot to do against them. Two weeks ago it was a bad performance there, I wasn’t happy with the performance from us, it was 90 percent focus and energy and we dropped two points.”
United, who secured a place in the League Cup final this week, are fourth in the Premier League.
Ten Hag said Austria midfielder Marcel Sabitzer would be in the squad for Saturday’s match and could make his debut following a deadline-day loan move from Bayern Munich.
“He did only one session but you can see he’s a very fit player,“ said Ten Hag, who signed Sabitzer after Denmark playmaker Christian Eriksen was ruled out until early May.
“I didn’t have different expectations coming from Bayern Munich. In Germany their fitness is always good. I think he is ready to play.”
United defender Raphael Varane announced his retirement from international football on Thursday after a France career in which he won the World Cup in 2018 and finished as a runner-up last year in Qatar.
France’s loss could be United’s gain if the 29-year-old former Real Madrid centre-back is able to extend his club career.
“For United, I think it’s good news,“ Ten Hag said. “Rapha achieved everything in terms of football club-wise but also with his nation.
“It is incredible what he achieved, big respect, and I am happy he puts all his energy and experience into the team.” - AFP