Wout Weghorst has given a left-field reason for completing a controversial pre-match ritual on Sunday.
Furious Manchester United fans condemned Wout Weghorst the striker after he was filmed touching the iconic ‘This Is Anfield’ sign in the tunnel ahead of their 7-0 hammering by Liverpool.
United supporters were far from pleased with their new star’s antics on what turned out to be a dismal afternoon for Erik ten Hag’s side, with Weghorst adding further insult to injury.
Liverpool players regularly reach up to touch the famous sign on their way out to the pitch, but the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Cody Gakpo and Trent Alexander-Arnold found themselves in the odd position of being joined by a rival.
In a story posted on Instagram, the Dutchman has now claimed he touched the sign in order to ‘wind up’ an opponent by stopping him from completing his usual ritual.
Wout Weghorst was seen touching the This Is Anfield sign at Anfield before Man United’s loss
The Dutchman has given a bizarre reason for joining in with the pre-match ritual
‘From the national team, I know that Virgil van Dijk always touches that sign’, he said, ‘the only intention I had was to stop him touching it and wind him up before the game.
‘As a child I always supported FC Twente, and as a proud player now for Manchester United, my dedication to this incredible club can never be questioned.’
Despite this claim, the Dutch striker has been vocal in the past about being a boyhood Reds fan but some incensed United supporters believe the new footage is enough evidence to have his contract terminated.
One particularly furious supporter wrote: ‘I don’t care about his carabao cup pics anymore. He has to leave the club at the end of his 6 months. THIS VIDEO is enough to let him go. How the hell can you touch the Anfield sign as a MAN UNITED player?’
A second agreed, stating: ‘Terminate his contract.’
For a third fan, the humbling result was a result of superstition, claiming: ‘Now that 7-0 makes more sense you never touch that sign as a rival team always ends badly.’
And a fourth had clearly changed their opinions of the big centre-forward, adding: ‘Disgusting, was actually starting to like the bloke.’
Weghorst joined United on a six-month loan in January and is set to return to parent club Burnley after his loan at Besiktas was terminated in order to facilitate the short-term move from Turf Moor to Old Trafford.
And although he described his switch to the Red Devils as a ‘dream come true’ in January, the hard work he has done to endear himself with the United faithful now looks to be undone.
The Dutch striker has struggled since arriving a Old Trafford with just a goal and an assist in 14 appearances
‘I always found Liverpool very special. I still get goosebumps from ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’. There are other great English clubs too, and I always liked Milan because so many Dutch played there,’ Weghorst told DAZN in 2020.
And in 2018, he told De Telegraaf: ‘I’ve dreamt of [playing for Liverpool] since childhood.’
As a boyhood Reds fan, Weghorst would have been aware of the deep-rooted rivalry between two of the country’s historically most successful clubs, however Sunday’s game seems to have seen a momentary lapse in judgement.
And that lapse has left some fans contending that their side was doomed from the start, despite coming into the clash with the better form and having just won a first piece of silverware in six years.
One Twitter user wrote: ‘Its was 12 v 10 from the start.’
Another agreed, adding: ‘We lost the game before it even started bro.’
Weghorst and United were humbled in a 7-0 win for Liverpool against their arch-nemesis
Despite remaining in the game for much of the first half, United found themselves 1-0 down at the break after a brilliant Gakpo strike, but things quickly went from bad to worse for the visitors.
Within five minutes of the second half, Liverpool were 3-0 up before adding another four goals in 38 minutes to complete a record-breaking rout with Gakpo, Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah all scoring twice and Firmino grabbing the seventh.
Weghorst has only scored once since his Old Trafford arrival in 14 outings, but has been deployed both as a second striker and an out-and-out No 9 under compatriot Erik ten Hag.
He will have a task on his hands repairing the newly-created rift between him and supporters, but with the club in action against Real Betis on Thursday in the Europa League, he could go some way to bridging the divide with a goal.
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