With the Premier League season fast approaching, Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United side is taking shape. Assuming that the avalanche of rumours regarding the potential purchase of Paul Pogba are true, the Portuguese will have a squad of around 23 players to select from when the season kicks off, which is just as well; United will be juggling domestic and Europa League commitments until December, at least, meaning there will be plenty of games on offer for his charges. But how will Mourinho set out his side?
Here, we look at two detailed plans for how the former Chelsea boss could set his team up.
With a few adjustments, this could end up being Mourinho’s default set-up once the season is up and running. Taking his current preference for Antonio Valencia and his superior attacking instincts over the selection of Matteo Darmian into account, the back four selected above is probably the strongest that United currently have available to them, with Eric Bailly, who has impressed in pre-season thus far, likely to partner Chris Smalling. The returning Luke Shaw will be expected to nail down the left back berth quite quickly this term.
Pogba instantly gets into Mourinho’s preferred line-up, with this 4-3-3 giving him licence to play a box-to-box role in midfield alongside Ander Herrera. Juan Mata sits at the tip of the three, primarily as he would be able to link midfield and attack well, with Mourinho suggesting that Rooney wouldn’t play as deep as this under his management and would play up front.
The front three speaks for itself; Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s class is flanked by Anthony Martial’s skill and pace along with Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s excellent attacking instincts.
Sergio Romero would take over in goal in this hypothetical line-up, with Phil Jones and Tim Fosu-Mensah the best defensive partnership available to United at present, under the assumption that Marcos Rojo will be sold this summer.
Midfield features Michael Carrick in a holding role alongside Morgan Schneiderlin, who would be expected to be far more energetic and involved in proceedings than he was under Louis van Gaal last season.
This formation allows Rooney to play just behind Marcus Rashford as a number 10, surrounded by the youthful pace of Memphis Depay and Jesse Lingard in an effort to offset the United captain’s dwindling mobility. Although having said that, Rashford’s obvious skill alone could more than make up for that.
What do you think? Do you agree, or disagree? Tell us what starting XI you’d like to see United use in the comments below!