Dublin expecting high-quality contest

Dion Dublin knows a thing or two about both Manchester United and Aston Villa and he is anticipating a top-class friendly on Saturday between his former clubs.

The ex-England striker joined one of our MUTV Group Chat episodes this week and was asked about the Reds' sole pre-season fixture, ahead of our first Premier League match with Crystal Palace on 19 September.

He feels the friendly, which will be shown in full on MUTV from 22:00 BST on Saturday night, will give real pointers as to the starting line-up and plans for the Palace encounter and provide fans with an opportunity to get a glimpse of how things will start to pan out in 2020/21.

“The big thing is how both teams approach it,” explained Dublin. “It's so close to the season, I would imagine they have to play close to the team they're going to play on the first day of the new campaign.

“They need to see how everything works so it does make for a very interesting game. Obviously, there are no punters in the stadium, of course, but it should be a high-quality game, which is great for the players.

“They know what the speed of the game is and what quality they will be facing.

“When I played, Villa versus United was the biggest game of the season there. Whoever plays United, it's their biggest game of the season, as players want to raise their game and stand out as an individual.”

The man who scored the Reds' first-ever winning goal in the Premier League, at Southampton, insists nobody will yet be in peak condition, despite the close proximity to the end of last season.

“You'd be surprised how quickly you can lose fitness,” he explained. “There's fitness and match fitness so the lads will still look fit to the general public but probably only be 75 per cent fit when it comes to being ready to play in the Premier League again.

“It is such a high standard for so long and the intensity of the games is huge. So it'll be topping up. Fitness-wise, they're fine, but the match fitness won't quite be right. They're training again and just getting a bit of sharpness back and then they'll all be fine.

“Everyone is in the same position so I'm looking forward to it.”

Watch the Villa friendly in full on MUTV from 22:00 BST on Saturday night.

In a pre-season special offer, subscribe to MUTV today and get 12 months’ access for the price of six. That’s less than 50p a week for a year’s brilliant coverage of the world’s greatest football club and includes the chance to watch our only pre-season fixture! Simply use the code MUTV12FOR6 when you check out at www.mutv.manutd.com. It’s a limited-time offer, so get it while you can!

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