Manchester United pre-season tour: How the struggling giants could line up against Perth Glory
Manchester United had a disastrous 2018/19 season with the Special One Jose Mourinho being sacked in December after a run of torrid results. His replacement, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, had a dry spell of results once being confirmed as the permanent successor. After their victory against PSG in Paris, lady luck just vanished for them - and they won only 2 out of their final 12 games.
The poor form has led to many talented and senior players casting doubts over their future. Ander Herrera has already left for free to join PSG. Paul Pogba has publicly stated that he needs a new challenge, whereas Romelu Lukaku also wishes to play under the new Inter manager Antonio Conte. Lukaku declared the former Chelsea boss to be the best in the world and has been dropping hints of potentially joining Inter all summer.
So, only time will tell whether these two players will remain Red Devils for the upcoming season or not. However, they were still included in the travelling squad to Australia. The notable absentees from the travelling squad are Fred and Matteo Darmian - both not included due to family reasons. They are expected to link up with the team later in the tour.
A couple of new signings - Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka - have joined the team and would be hoping to set Old Trafford alight with their performances. As always, youth products such as James Garner, Tahith Chong, Mason Greenwood, and Angel Gomes will be traveling with the squad. They will hope to gain some valuable minutes under their belt and the trust of the manager. While this pre-season tour will be necessary for these youth products, it's equally crucial for the fringe players of the squad, so that they can stake a claim onto the first-team places.
For the first match against Perth Glory on 13th July, here's the predicted starting lineup:
United's number 1, David de Gea, joined the group at Carrington later, after being given an extended break. The extended break was because David participated in Spain's qualifiers against Sweden and Faroe Islands (Kepa Arrizabalaga started between the sticks, though).
David de Gea did fly out to Australia with the rest of the teammates but United's number 2, Sergio Romero is expected to start as the goalkeeper for the first match. Romero wasn't picked by Argentina for the Copa America this summer and was available from the very first day at Carrington. He's pretty fresh and would be raring to go.
United's other options include the veteran Lee Grant and Joel Pereira. Lee Grant wasn't instrumental during his only outing against Derby County last season and is expected to be the third-choice goalkeeper this season too. Joel Pereira returns to United after two loan spells at Vitória de Setúbal and Kortrijk - and will be hoping to convince the boss to elevate him to the third choice spot at the club. Dean Henderson wasn't included in the squad at all, with rumors going around that he may be on his way out of the club.
Although Diogo Dalot featured for Portugal in this summer's Under-20 World Cup, the tournament was over by 31st May, and Portugal were knocked out in the group stage itself. Aaron Wan-Bissaka featured in U21 Euros this summer, and would not be expected to start the first match of the tour. Ashley Young is the only other specialist right-back but won't be expected to start. Hence, it makes it completely obvious that it'll be the Portuguese who'll be starting at right-back.
Eric Bailly & Axel Tuanzebe
Eric Bailly would be wanting to prove his worth to the manager after having the whole summer to recuperate from his ankle injury and missing the African Cup of Nations in process. There were reports of United thinking of selling Bailly due to his injury record, but an excellent pre-season tour can put him above in the pecking order.
Axel Tuanzebe, after an impressive loan spell at Aston Villa, can be an ideal addition to the defense of the side which shipped 54 league goals last season. By shining on the tour, he can make United believe that they have got quality and versatile center-back and don't need reinforcements.
Luke Shaw is the squad's only specialist left-back and is widely expected to start the role in the pre-season and the season. He wasn't included in the England squad for the Nations League Finals this summer, so he's fresh and expected to shine this season.