Manchester United will travel to the DW Stadium this afternoon to take on Wigan Athletic in a friendly match. The game will be José Mourinho’s first as United boss and, despite the absence of 13 players who’ve been given an extended break following international duty, there is still plenty to get excited about.
In a youthful matchday squad which includes the likes of Axel Tuanzebe, Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Andreas Pereira, there are also two of the club’s major summer signings.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is still on holiday, but this afternoon could see the debuts of Eric Bailly and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, with both men named in the 25-man squad.
And, in what will feel almost like a new signing, the Wigan friendly could also see the return of left-back Luke Shaw. Shaw has been out of action since suffering a broken leg in a Champions League tie against PSV Eindhoven back in September last year.
The young England international had been one of United’s best players before the injury early last season, and if he can recapture his form, his return will be a massive boost for Mourinho.
In addition to Ibrahimovic’s absence, Wayne Rooney and Marcus Rashford are still on holiday following their involvement in Euro 2016 with England, so Mourinho has to choose between James Wilson and Will Keane as his options at centre-forward.
United have similarly inexperienced options in goal too, as Sam Johnstone is likely to start, with Joel Pereira and Dean Henderson possible alternatives.
This afternoon’s game will give the selected players an opportunity to impress the new manager, with the chance to steal a march on the members of the squad who are yet to return ahead of the pre-season tour of China later this month.
Memphis Depay, Daley Blind, Phil Jones, Antonio Valencia, Jesse Lingard, Ander Herrera, Juan Mata, Ashley Young, Adnan Januzaj and Michael Carrick make up the more experienced contingent hoping to feature against the Latics.
The match, which sees the Red Devils make a short trip across Greater Manchester, kicks off at 13:30 BST, and will be broadcast live on MUTV.