United XI not on China pre-season tour could beat team who are

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Yesterday, Jose Mourinho and his Manchester United squad left Manchester bound for China as they began their pre-season tour.

All told, the Red Devils took 25 players with them to the Far East where they will face off against Manchester City, Borussia Dortmund and Galatasaray. However, while the likes of Wayne Rooney and David De Gea were on board, the squad wasn't exactly looking at full strength.

In fact, you could make an argument that a starting XI made up of players who didn't travel to China would give those that did a run for their money, albeit with one special inclusion in midfield that Man Utd fans are dreaming about


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So, just what does a lineup of players left out by Mourinho look like? And why were they left behind?

GOALKEEPER - Joel Pereira

The young Portuguese shot-stopper often captains United's U21 team and featured in Mourinho's first game in charge, versus Wigan. Not quite David De Gea's standard yet, but he is missing the China trip to link up with Portugal's Olympic squad.

RIGHT BACK - Matteo Darmian

The Italian looks to be on his way out of Old Trafford after only one season, but he performed admirably for Italy during Euro 2016.

LEFT BACK - Cameron Borthwick-Jackson

Thought of very highly by Mourinho and expected to have a big future at United, the young defender would have travelled with the squad had it not been for a groin injury.

CENTREBACKS - Tyler Blackett /  Guillermo Varela

Admittedly this is where the 'left at home XI' is at its weakest. Blackett has promise but is expected to leave United soon, whilst Varela has struggled at his natural right back position nevermind at centreback. 

Mind you, after the way some fans reacted to news Chris Smalling and Phil Jones could be United's starting centrebacks this season, it might not actually look so bad.

CENTRE MIDFIELD - Morgan Schneiderlin / Bastian Schweinsteiger

Both players given extra time off after Euro 2016 participation, the duo would provide a well-balanced core to this lineup. 

Schneiderlin is yet to reach the high standards he set at Southampton with United, but could flourish under Mourinho. With one report suggesting a Carrick/Herrera partnership will start United's first friendly in China, there isn't much to choose between the two pairings.

RIGHT WING - James Wilson

Wilson's exclusion from the Far East trip raises the most eyebrows and, simply put, he has been overlooked by Mourinho on form alone it would seem.

United fans have already questioned this decision, and the 20-year-old would certainly have something to prove if he were to line up against those that had a seat on the plane.


We know, we know...Paul Pogba isn't actually a Manchester United player just yet. But, with Ed Woodward having opted not to fly to China in the hopes of completing a deal for the Juventus star, he could well be by the time the 25-man travelling party arrive back in Manchester.

And, let's face it, he'd walk into any starting XI nevermind this one.

LEFT WING - Anthony Martial

Currently enjoying a holiday in the Caribean after making it to the Euro 2016 final, the Frenchman is set up for a big second season in English football.

Has shown flashes of his talent so far in a United shirt but, set to take up a spot in Mourinho's starting attacking quartet when competitive games begin, Martial could be the key man this year.

CENTRE FORWARD - Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Another given extra time off, expectation surrounding the Swede's arrival in the Premier League is huge.

He might be getting on a bit, but the former PSG's unique build and temperament - not to mention his eye for goal - offer United something none of their other forwards can.

Considering the fact, too, that the likes of Rooney, Marcus Rashford and Chris Smalling won't actually play during the China trip despite having travelled with the team, the above starting XI would certainly fancy their chances when pitted against the team Mourinho's looks set to choose for their game against Borussia Dortmund on Friday.

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Wayne Rooney
Premier League
Juan Mata
Manchester United
David de Gea
Ryan Giggs
Jose Mourinho

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