Five key questions before the Leeds friendly
Manchester United’s plans for the Leeds United friendly in Oslo were made a little clearer on Tuesday afternoon.
While the identity of the players we can call upon have been revealed, there are still some questions to answer, as the Reds take to the field for the first time in 2023/24...
FIRST CHANCE TO SEE MOUNT?
The most striking element of the squad list was the inclusion of Mason Mount, who has been working hard at Carrington since completing his move from Chelsea last week. The 24-year-old was not involved for England in June, having missed the end of the Blues’ season due to injury. Mount’s last appearance for Chelsea came in April and, after three months of no match action, the midfielder will be keen to get going quickly for his new side. Whether that’s as a starter or as a substitute is up to Ten Hag but, if Mount does appear against Leeds, you’ll be able to watch every kick with us.
MARTINEZ TO RETURN?
Another player who hasn’t kicked a ball in anger since April is Lisandro Martinez, who was much missed in the latter stages of 2022/23 following his season-ending injury against Sevilla. The World Cup winner has been feverishly posting about his rehabilitation on social media and, having made it on to the plane for Norway, it looks as though he’s close to a return. Licha signed in the midst of last summer’s tour and will be eagerly anticipating the opportunity for a full pre-season ahead of his sophomore campaign in England.
WHO PLAYS IN GOAL?
David De Gea announced his departure from United on Saturday, offering supporters his ‘unwavering gratitude and appreciation for the love from the last 12 years’. Ten Hag has taken three keepers to Oslo and last season’s back-up Tom Heaton would be the experienced choice in goal – the Academy graduate appeared in the Carabao Cup wins over Charlton Athletic and Nottingham Forest on our way to lifting the trophy. Nathan Bishop and Matej Kovar, who won the league with Sparta Prague while on loan, have also travelled. Both stoppers were present on last summer’s tour of Thailand and Australia, but they have yet to make a first-team appearance.
WHO WEARS THE ARMBAND?
With Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes still to return to Carrington after the summer break and De Gea no longer at the club, it’s not yet obvious who will lead United out at the Ullevaal Stadion on Wednesday afternoon. Although Ten Hag has selected a youthful squad, several experienced names stand out, including Heaton, Martinez, Raphael Varane and Fred. Jadon Sancho and Aaron Wan-Bissaka also have a wedge of first-team football under their belts, but we’ll find out for sure who will don the armband when the line-ups are announced via MUTV, the United App and ManUtd.com.
WILL LOANEES IMPRESS?
The squad for Oslo contains seven players who spent at least part of last season out on loan, not including Joe Hugill and Maxi Oyedele, who remained in Manchester while playing the odd game for Altrincham. In addition to Kovar and his Czech championship win, Alvaro Fernandez, Amad and Hannibal impressed in the second tier of English football, while Will Fish represented Hibernian as they finished fifth in the Scottish Premiership. Charlie Savage (Forest Green) and Shola Shoretire (Bolton Wanderers) scored goals in League One during the second half of the campaign and all the youngsters on the trip will want to impress the manager and stake a claim for further involvement in the pre-season matches.