Confirmed: Ole's XI for the final
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been able to name virtually his strongest Manchester United side for the Europa League final in Gdansk against Villarreal.
Sadly there is no place in the starting XI for our regular captain Harry Maguire, but the central defender has made the 12-man bench in Poland.
The emphasis is on attack in the boss’ selection with a 49-goal front unit of Marcus Rashford, Edinson Cavani and Mason Greenwood all lining up against the Spaniards with the backing of our 28-goal top scorer Bruno Fernandes behind them.
Despite not having Maguire available from the start, due to ankle ligament damage suffered against Aston Villa, the manager is just pleased to have the skipper's influence in the dressing room in Poland.
“He's not ready. He's not trained. We have him on the bench because if there's an emergency of course he'll want to come on. He's a leader in the dressing room and a player everyone respects and we need around the place,” Ole told MUTV before kick-off.
David De Gea will keep goal for the Reds against Villarreal. Our Spanish number one was Solskjaer’s choice for both legs in the semi-final win over Roma and has got the nod again as we look for our first silverware since United won this trophy in Stockholm back in 2017.
Ready for the final Gallery
The lads looked sharp in their suits, as they arrived at Gdansk Stadium earlier. Let's bring this trophy home!
The void left by Maguire in the defence is filled by Eric Bailly who played in the semi-final second leg in Italy. Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw take up their usual full-back positions.
The boss has gone adventurous, having been forced to leave Fred out of the midfield department after the Brazilian picked up a slight injury.
“I think we do it in our own way. In our spirit, it's attacking football, pace of course and power and that quality,” the boss added.
“The main reason for it is Fred has been injured this week. He only trained last night, he got through the session but we didn't want to risk him for the full 90. Unfortunately for him he got that knock against Fulham, but this team has played together before so we're ready.”
Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba are in a middle two with Fernandes the third more advanced midfielder.
It’s a first European final for Greenwood, who has scored 12 goals this season and he's joined by Rashford, who played in Stockholm four years ago and has 21 strikes to his name this term. Alongside them is Cavani who has found the net 16 times and has 50-plus in Euro club tournaments throughout his career.
“I don't think they're nervous, I think they're very confident and excited of course which they should be because they're playing a final,” added Ole.
“It's a big game, but as I said to them, play with confidence, play with courage and [we need to] trust ourselves and the way we've played to get here; don't change in a final. We just have to play our own way and if we get a good performance the result should come.”
United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Lindelof, Shaw; McTominay, Pogba; Greenwood, Fernandes (c), Rashford; Cavani.
Subs: Grant, Henderson, Maguire, Telles, Tuanzebe, Williams, Amad, Fred, James, Mata, Matic, van de Beek.
Villarreal: Rulli; Foyth, Albiol (c), Torres, Pedraza; Yeremi Pino, Capoue, Parejo, Trigueros; G. Moreno, Bacca.
Subs: Asenjo, Mario Gaspar, Funes Mori, Raba, Estupinan, Alcacer, A. Moreno, Coquelin, Pena, Jaume Costa, Moi Gomez, Nino.