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Davis Cup debutant Jack Draper joked that he will give Manchester United a ‘pep talk’ to inspire Erik ten Hag’s side ahead of their Premier League clash with Brighton on Saturday. The British No 5 revealed that the Red Devils are staying in the same Manchester hotel as his Davis Cup colleagues and said he would be willing to give them some extra motivation before their encounter at Old Trafford.
Draper helped Great Britain to an excellent 2-1 win over Australia at the tournament, which is being played in Manchester’s AO Arena. The 21-year-old came from a set down to defeat Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-7, 6-3, 7-6.
It helped Great Britain go a step closer to reaching the knockout stages of the Davis Cup with a fantastic 2-1 win over the Australian team, after Dan Evans later beat Alex de Minaur 6-1, 2-6, 6-4 in the second singles match on Wednesday.
Draper was in a buoyant mood after his match and revealed that Man Utd are staying in his hotel ahead of the match against Brighton on Saturday, with the self-confessed Red Devils fan claiming that he would try to fire up Erik ten Hag and co before their top-flight game.
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“I’m a Manchester United fan,” Draper said. “I think they’re staying in our hotel on Friday night so I’ll have to give them a pep talk.”
The United team may benefit from some words of encouragement after a difficult start to the season. Off-field trouble at Old Trafford has dominated the headlines, with Ten Hag staging showdown talks with at least two players this week.
Jadon Sancho was first to meet with the Red Devils boss in a last-ditch attempt to clear the air. Ten Hag publicly criticised Sancho’s training performances after United fell to a 3-1 defeat by Arsenal prior to the international break.
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Sancho responded by pinning a statement to the top of his X account in which he sensationally dubbed the claim “untrue”. The bitter fall-out shows no sign of averting with reports suggesting that director of football John Murtough will need to intervene to see if Sancho and Ten Hag can rekindle their relationship.
According to the Mirror, the Dutchman will also meet with Andre Onana to gauge whether the goalkeeper plans to play for Cameroon at the Africa Cup of Nations in January and February. Onana, who had previously made himself unavailable for his country after being sent home from the World Cup, played for the nation during their crunch AFCON qualifying fixtures this month.
The 27-year-old could miss up to nine United games in the first two months of 2024 if Cameroon reach the final. Ten Hag needs any help he can to turn around his team’s form after two defeats in their opening four matches.
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