The squad for Manchester United's pre-season has been announced today. Along with a small army of support staff, Louis van Gaal will be taking the following 25 footballers to the USA:
Goalkeepers: David de Gea, Anders Lindegaard, Ben Amos, Sam Johnstone;
Defenders: Rafael, Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Luke Shaw, Tyler Blackett, Michael Keane, Reece James
Midfielders: Ander Herrera, Tom Cleverley, Darren Fletcher, Ashley Young, Wilfried Zaha, Shinji Kagawa, Juan Mata, Antonio Valencia, Nani;
Forwards: Jesse Lingard, Danny Welbeck, Wayne Rooney, Will Keane
Presumably, those players who made it beyond the World Cup group stages -- Javier Hernandez, Robin van Persie, Patrice Evra, Adnan Januzaj, Marouane Fellaini, Arturo Vidal -- will be joining the group later after a well-earned rest. Anyway, here are some instant thoughts ...
- Four goalkeepers? What?
- No Anderson, no Bebe. Presumably that's it for the pair of them. Bebe has been heavily linked with Valencia in recent weeks, which would be nice for him. And if Anderson can't make a squad that contains just the three central midfielders, well, anybody? He'll be cheap? Come on, QPR. Do the right thing.
- Even with Fellaini to return, that's still a light central midfield department. More business to come, you'd assume, despite Van Gaal's statements yesterday that he wants to assess the players he has first.
- No Nick Powell, no James Wilson, no Tom Lawrence, no Saidy Janko. Either Van Gaal hates them and has no intention of bringing them into the first team, or they're staying with the reserves for another season, or they're going out on loan somewhere in the not too distant. Pick your favourite, and bear in mind that Van Gaal has said he'll e looking for a small, core squad.
- Shame about Janko, mind, would have been good to see him backing up Rafael.
- Nice to see Jesse Lingard involved.
- Seriously, though, four goalkeepers?
The tour begins on July 24 with a game against LA Galaxy for the Chevrolet Cup. Three games against AS Roma (26 July), Internazionale (30 July — hi Nemanja!) and Real Madrid (2 Aug) will follow, comprising the group stage of the International Champions Cup. Should United do well, the final is scheduled for 4 August. Anybody going?