- Andre Onana could miss a month if called up for the Africa Cup of Nations
- The 27-year-old has struggled in his first three months at Manchester United
- Listen to the latest episode of the Mail Sport podcast ‘It all begins!’
Andre Onana is reportedly so committed to becoming a success at Manchester United that he is reluctant to join Cameroon in the Africa Cup of Nations after telling Erik ten Hag he did not want to end his international retirement.
The 27-year-old replaced David De Gea at Old Trafford following a £47million move from Ajax, but his first three months in England have been disappointing.
Onana has kept just three clean sheets in 11 games in all competitions and has conceded 12 goals in eight Premier League appearances.
It was a similarly difficult story in the Champions League, where the Cameroonian conceded seven goals in two games and made crucial mistakes in the defeats to Bayern Munich and Galatasaray.
Despite the criticism, Erik ten Hag remains involved with Onana, whom he coached at Ajax and whom he considers a key player in implementing a more progressive playing style.
Andre Onana is reportedly so committed to success at Manchester United that he is reluctant to join Cameroon in the Africa Cup of Nations
The Cameroonian has struggled in his three months at Manchester United
Your browser does not support iframes.
And according to the ESPNThe United shot-stopper is so determined to be a success at Old Trafford that he is reluctant to represent his country in the Africa Cup of Nations early next year if he is selected.
The tournament will kick off in Ivory Coast on January 13 and run until February 11, after being postponed from the summer of 2023 due to concerns over the country’s rainy season.
United will discuss the matter in January but are aware that it could be difficult for some of Cameroon’s biggest players to withdraw from the tournament.
Onana left the national team after being sent home from the World Cup in Qatar last December following an argument with coach Rigobert Song.
According to ESPN, Onana told Ten Hag during his contract negotiations with United that he was unlikely to return to Cameroon.
However, under pressure from the Cameroon Football Association and the Cameroonian government, he made himself available for selection again last month for his country’s final AFCON qualifier against Burundi.
Erik ten Hag could lose Onana for a month in January if Cameroon reaches the final
Onana left the national team after being sent home from the World Cup in Qatar last December following an argument with coach Rigobert Song (left)
The match against Burundi last month was Onana’s first with Cameroon since the 1-0 defeat to Switzerland in his country’s first Group G at the 2022 World Cup.
THE GAMES ONANA CAN MISS
The tournament runs from January 13 to February 11. Premier League unless otherwise stated
W/C January 8 Possible semi-final of the Carabao Cup, first leg
January 13 Tottenham (H)
W/C January 22 Possible semi-final of the Carabao Cup, second leg
January 27/28 Possible fourth round FA Cup
January 30 Wolves (A)
February 3 Westham (H)
Feb. 10 Aston Villa (A)
The 27-year-old initially promised to only play in that match, but is now expected to play in the tournament as well.
If Cameroon goes all the way, Onana could miss four Premier League matches against Tottenham, Wolves, West Ham and Aston Villa.
Furthermore, he could also miss the two-legged semi-finals of the Carabao Cup and the fourth round of the FA Cup if United get that far.
The first Champions League last-16 matches are also scheduled for the week after the AFCON final, meaning Onana could face a tight turnaround when he returns to England if Cameroon progress that far and United reach the knockout stages reaches.
If Onana is unavailable, ten Hag could turn to summer signing Altay Bayindir, who joined from Fenerbahce for £3 million.
The Dutchman also has 37-year-old goalkeeper Tom Heaton in his selection.
And Onana may not be the only United player absent in January. Sofyan Amrabat is likely to be called up for Morocco, which qualified in March.
Hannibal Mejbri may play for Tunisia in the competition, while Amad Diallo may be called up by Ivory Coast.
The 21-year-old is yet to feature this season after suffering a knee injury in pre-season after scoring 14 goals in 39 games on loan at Sunderland.