Manchester United face San Jose Earthquakes in California tomorrow morning in the second match of their International Champions Cup campaign.
The Red Devils got their North American tour off to a winning start on Saturday as new signing Morgan Schneiderlin scored the only goal in a 1-0 win over Club America.
Fellow summer arrivals Matteo Darmian, Memphis Depay and Bastian Schweinsteiger also made their United debuts in a modest victory over the Mexican champions.
While pre-season is primarily about experimenting ahead of the upcoming campaign and building fitness levels, Louis van Gaal will be hoping for a more emphatic winning margin against San Jose.
The Earthquakes are second from bottom of MLS’s Western Conference table, having won only seven of 19 games this season, and were thrashed 5-2 by Steven Gerrard’s Los Angeles Galaxy at the weekend.
United are likely to continue with a flexible 4-3-3 formation which will see captain Wayne Rooney, apparently assured of a starting central position for this season, flanked by two wide forwards.
With Javier Hernandez (broken collarbone) one of three sidelined by injurey, Rooney is the only senior frontman in United’s touring party and is thus expected to spearhead the attack again.
There will be rotation elsewhere, though, just four days on from United’s last outing. Adnan Januzaj and Andres Pereira will be hoping for a chance to prove that they are first-team material. This would be a better platform to give youngsters an opportunity than the friendly against Barcelona on Saturday.
There could be a first start for Schweinsteiger alongside Schneiderlin in midfield, with Michael Carrick rested. Ander Herrera may get the nod over Spanish compatriot Juan Mata in a more advanced role.
Van Gaal has revealed that Marouane Fellaini is unlikely to feature in United’s first couple of pre-season games. The Belgian is carrying a three-match ban going into the start of the Premier League campaign.
Other absentees are David de Gea and Antonio Valencia. Van Gaal refused to give specifics on the “minor injuries” that the Real Madrid-linked goalkeeper and the Ecuadorian had picked up in training.
Anders Lindegaard could therefore be given a rare game, while Italy right-back Darmian will be looking to prove why he should not be second choice to Valencia, as Van Gaal implied on Tuesday.
The competition for a starting spot is hotting up, so all of United’s players will be out to impress! The Red Devils kick off their Premier League season at home to Tottenham Hotspur on August 8.
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