Manchester United's Antony celebrates after scoring his side's third goal...

Manchester United's Antony celebrates after scoring his side's third goal during the FA Cup fourth round soccer match between Newport County and Manchester United at the Rodney Parade stadium in Newport, Wales, Sunday, Jan. 28, 2024. Credit: AP/Alastair Grant

MANCHESTER, England — Brazil international Antony was assured on Tuesday that he still has a future at Manchester United despite plunging down the pecking order of wingers at the English club.

The 24-year-old Antony became the second most expensive player in United’s history when he arrived for $95 million in the summer of 2022, following manager Erik ten Hag in joining from Ajax.

However, a difficult season for Antony has seen him briefly take a leave of absence in order to address allegations made against him of violence toward women. Now he has dropped to being the fourth-choice winger at United, with Ten Hag starting two 19-year-olds — Alejandro Garnacho and more recently Omari Forson — ahead of him along with Marcus Rashford.

Ten Hag is under pressure to get the best out of Antony, given the amount of money United spent on the Brazilian, and the Dutchman has given him strong backing.

“I have known Antony for a long time and I know his abilities. He has great abilities,” Ten Hag said at a news conference ahead of United’s FA Cup fifth-round match at Nottingham Forest on Wednesday. “When he plays how I know from the past, he is unstoppable.

“No defender can stop him because he is one of the quickest players over the first 10 yards (meters). So when he plays that game, then he will perform.”

Still, Ten Hag said Antony has to work hard to get back in the team.

Manchester United's Antony, right, celebrates after scoring his side's third...

Manchester United's Antony, right, celebrates after scoring his side's third goal during the FA Cup fourth round soccer match between Newport County and Manchester United at the Rodney Parade stadium in Newport, Wales, Sunday, Jan. 28, 2024. Credit: AP/Alastair Grant

“I am very confident he will do (in) the future,” he added. “I am sure he is resilient, he is hurt and he will fight back. He has now to wait for that chance. Once he is there, he has to take it.”

If United loses at the City Ground, it is virtually assured of finishing the season without a trophy. The team is out of Europe and is sixth in the Premier League, 16 points behind first-placed Liverpool.

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