Manchester United start the next leg of their pre-season tour on Sunday afternoon when they face Norwegian league team Valerenga at the Ullevaal Stadium in Oslo. With the Premier League’s big kick-off just over two weeks away, United face an important period in their preparations for the start of the new season.
The Reds will be bolstered by the return of their Euro 2012 stars to the squad, which gives Sir Alex Ferguson a chance to pick a strong side in Oslo, and with long-term casualty Nemanja Vidic back in training, the United boss also has the opportunity to field his captain after being out of action since December last year.
After a relatively modest start to their pre-season campaign in South Africa and China, United will look to score more goals in their next three matches in Norway, Sweden and Germany. Match fitness still remains the priority however, particularly for those players who have just joined this season’s tour; and with three games in a week, United have the perfect opportunity to get their players raring to go for their first Premier League match against Everton on August 20th.
Valerenga will pose a decent test for United and the Norwegian outfit will be at full fitness, bearing in mind they are midway through their own league campaign.
United’s big team news is that captain Nemanja Vidic is approaching match fitness and could play against Valerenga on Sunday. European Championship players Rooney, Welbeck, Jones, Young, Nani and Evra are also back in training and are available for selection. Sir Alex Ferguson has stated that he will field a strong side in Olso, however the Reds’ Olympians Giggs, Cleverley, De Gea and Rafael are still unavailable.
United should start with Anders Lindegaard in goal, with Ben Amos now on-loan at Hull. Sam Johnstone is available as back-up. In front of him, Ferdinand and Vidic are likely to play at centre-back, with the returning Evra on the left, and Jones on the right. Vermijl, Brady,Veseli, Wootton and Blackett are also available as cover; Smalling and Evans are out through injury.
The Reds have the options of Scholes, Carrick, Anderson, Powell and Kagawa in midfield and Fergie will look to give all of them miles on the clock. Valencia may play on the right wing, with Young and Nani occupying the left wing position at different points in the game. Bebe, Petrucci, Tunnicliffe and Jesse Lingard are also available.
Euro 2012 stars Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck may start in Norway, whilst still having the choices of Hernandez, Berbatov and Macheda ready to play at some point during the ninety minutes. United could also play 4-5-1 with Kagawa or Young just behind the lone striker.
Valerenga are midway through their league campaign, and currently lie sixth in the Norwegian top-flight table.
United last faced Valerenga in the summer of 2002, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer captaining the side on the return to his homeland. Solskjaer scored a penalty and Roy Keane scored a late winner for United in a 2-1 win.
Valerenga’s boss Martin Andresen played in the Premier League for Wimbledon and Blackburn.
Valerenga’s nicknames are ‘Enga’ ‘The Bohemians’ ’The Pride of Oslo’ and ‘St Hallvard’s Men’.
The Bohemians last won the league in 2005, which ended Rosenborg’s 13 year reign as Norwegian champions.
Manchester United’s Scandinavian Supporters’ Club (MUSSC) is the biggest anywhere in the world with over 40,000 members.
Valerenga: (from) Kongshavn, Hirschfeld, Muri, Solli, Larsen, Næss, Thomassen, Leigh, Anene, Qaka, Zajic, Hæstad, Fellah, Ogude, Nordvik, Kone, Oussou, Berre, Pusic, Suleiman, Ahmadi, Nielsen, Gunnarsson, Laajab
Manchester United: (from) Lindegaard, Johnstone, Jones, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Wootton Vermijl, Brady, Blackett, Carrick, Scholes, Kagawa, Anderson, Tunnicliffe, Petrucci, Lingard, Bebe, Powell, Nani, Young, Valencia, Hernandez, Berbatov, Welbeck, Rooney, Macheda.
Ground: Ullevaal Stadium, Oslo
Remaining Tour Dates
Barcelona v Manchester United (Gothenburg) 8th August 2012
Hannover 96 v Manchester United (Hannover) 11th August 2012
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Published with permission from Red Army - Manchester United News.