Manchester United get their pre-season campaign underway against Mexican outfit Club America in Arizona on Thursday night.
Jose Mourinho’s side are currently in the USA training ahead of their first pre-season friendly.
After taking on Club America they will then face San Jose Earthquakes in Santa Clara on July 22, before going head-to-head with AC Milan (July 25), Liverpool (July 28) and Real Madrid (July 31) in the International Champions Cup.
The Red Devils then take on Bayern Munich on August 5 in their final game of pre-season before their Premier League opener against Leicester City five days later.
An action-packed pre-season, then, and one which will see various fringe players and youngsters offered a chance to shine by Mourinho.
This is because of the World Cup. Mourinho wants those players who featured at this summer’s showpiece international tournament in Russia to have sufficient rest before playing for United again.
"We cannot start the Premier League with our players that were in the World Cup, which is a shame for the most important club competition in Europe,” Mourinho said on RT last weekend. "I think [three weeks] is the minimum that their body and soul needs, and which is the minimum for them to return and think about football again.
"To bring them back before that would be, 'OK, I have you for the first match of the season, but maybe I don't have you in three or four months.”
What Man Utd's XI might look like v Leicester
Man Utd had 12 players at the World Cup, seven of whom made it to the semi-finals: Paul Pogba, Marouane Fellaini, Romelu Lukaku, Ashley Young, Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford, Phil Jones and Paul Pogba.
None of those seven are expected to be available for United’s opener against Leicester.
As a result, Mourinho’s first competitive starting line-up of the season could look a little different to what you might expect.
The Mirror have even come up with a rather interesting potential XI…
They reckon United could go for Sergio Romero over David de Gea in goal, followed by a back-four of Luke Shaw, Eric Bailly, Chris Smalling and Antonio Valencia.
Ahead of them could be a two-man midfield comprised of Scott McTominay and Ander Herrera, with Anthony Martial, Juan Mata and 18-year-old Tahith Chong making his competitive debut on the right wing.
Alexis Sanchez could then lead the line in the absence of Lukaku, who was excellent in Russia.
But surely Mourinho will be tempted to find room for the likes of David de Gea, Nemanja Matic and new £52 million signing Fred, who all exited the World Cup earlier than the semi-finals.
It would also be a big shock of Chong starts because of his age and inexperience. A more likely option might be Andreas Pereira, who has played first-team football in Spain with Granada and Valencia over the past two seasons.
Would this Man Utd XI beat Leicester? Have your say below.
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