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Five things we want from Manchester United vs. Astana

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Rest for key players, and real game time for the youngsters

Manchester United Training and Press Conference
First goal for the kid on Thursday?
Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

United begin their Europa League campaign at home on Thursday against fellow Group L side and *checks notes* Kazakhstan champions, Astana. Ole Gunnar Solskjær is minded to rotate players in midweek and, having opted for experience against Leicester at the weekend, may give the kids a turn.

Winning the Europa League is another route towards Champions League football next season and, although European fixtures often require experience, particularly away, there’s the opportunity for Solskjær to blood youngsters already on the fringes.

Resting players

United have contrived to assemble a bloated yet thin squad. As such, Daniel James (out with ‘a knock’) and Aaron Wan-Bissaka should be given the night off – cheers lads – along with one or both of Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelöf. Scott McTominay may benefit from the break, too, as could Marcus Rashford. David de Gea can also sit this one out with his shiny new contract.

Promoting youth

Tahith Chong, Angel Gomes, Mason Greenwood, and Axel Tuanzebe all to get significant minutes, ideally. Whoever impresses can start against Rochdale, also at home, next Wednesday in the League Cup.

Romero a la Mourinho

Sergio Romero was José Mourinho’s mainstay in the Europa League when United won it in 2017. A back-up ‘keeper of such quality and quiet service deserves a consistent outing. Who knows when else he might be needed.

Fred

Is not dead! And, after 20-odd minutes against Leicester at the weekend, will be looking to start his season proper.

Greenwood

United’s options up top are threadbare and another injury away from desperate. Mason Greenwood can play through the middle, so perhaps give him some minutes leading the line and let’s see what he can do.