Ole reveals team news for Premier League opener
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has delivered an update on the latest team news ahead of our opening game of the Premier League season against Chelsea.
The Reds begin competitive action on Sunday, at 16:30 BST, with an Old Trafford encounter to savour in Frank Lampard's first game in charge of the visitors, following his summer switch from Derby County.
Romelu Lukaku joined Inter Milan on the final day of the English transfer window but new signings Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire and Daniel James are all available to make their debuts.
Indeed, the boss has confirmed to MUTV that Maguire is set to start at the heart of the defence.
Mason Greenwood is a contender for a striking spot after his impressive pre-season campaign but Eric Bailly and Tim Fosu-Mensah are both sidelined through injury.
Paul Pogba is fit to start, after nursing a back problem, while Alexis Sanchez may not be ready to feature this weekend, despite training well after sustaining an injury with Chile at the Copa America.
“Alexis has come in and trained well,
“ said Solskjaer. ”Of course, he's four or five weeks behind the boys and he's not played apart from a one behind-closed-doors [friendly] here, so I think he'll see this as an opportunity, as well, to make his mark.”
In an exclusive interview with MUTV, Ole said:
“Harry has impressed me, very much so. He has come in as a presence. He is taller and bigger than I thought. He has come in as a real plus. He will have an impact on the rest of the boys.
“Yeah, Harry is ready to play. I am sure he will put himself up, when I ask him on Sunday morning, if he is available, because he has played many games for Leicester over the pre-season. He has trained well and he has looked sharp when he has been here.
“Paul joined in, actually, the day after [the AC Milan match]. I wasn’t going to risk him, travelling down with the flight, but he joined in the game against Blackburn the day after, behind closed doors here. He is available. All of the boys are fit. It was always our aim to get to the starting line with as many players as fit as possible. Of course, Eric’s injury is bad news but the rest of them are available.”
Lukaku's exit is set to provide more opportunities for 17-year-old forward Greenwood, while goals are also expected to be supplied by the other forward players.
“Of course, Rom [Lukaku] has a good record and good stats,
“ added Ole. ”He's one of the top number nines around, when you want to play with that kind of striker, and he's that target man. For me, I'm very confident that we'll get goals from [Anthony] Martial, [Marcus] Rashford. Dan James will come in and create. I'm sure Jesse Lingard will get more [goals], so we do have a different attacking set-up this season.
“You do have players that you think are going to make an impact and Mason Greenwood's pathway would have been a lot more difficult, of course, if we had another forward there. So, for me, I believe that Mason's going to be playing and involved a lot, and, when he is, he'll score goals.”
WHAT ABOUT CHELSEA?
Chelsea sold defender David Luiz to London rivals Arsenal on deadline day and are without injured quartet Antonio Rudiger, Reece James, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi.
Of course, there is no Eden Hazard, following his big-money move to Real Madrid, but Mateo Kovacic sealed a permanent transfer to Stamford Bridge and Christian Pulisic also finalised his planned move, despite a FIFA transfer embargo being enforced this summer.
United begin the new season on Sunday, with kick-off at 16:30 BST. Guarantee your seat to this game with a Matchday VIP Experience.
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