United 4 Leeds 0: Eight talking points from Perth
There is always something to talk about when Manchester United play and that was certainly the case on Wednesday, following the excellent 4-0 win over old rivals Leeds in Perth.
MASON GREENWOOD IS FLOURISHING
The 17-year-old Academy graduate was named in the starting XI and delivered almost immediately, opening the scoring early on with a crisp finish into the bottom corner. It was his first goal in senior football and his display backed up Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s claim that the forward will contribute to the first team in 2019/20. In the post-match press conference, the manager even admitted our talented teenager is in the running to start that opening Premier League match against Chelsea.
Fresh from scoring in the win over Perth Glory, the 21-year-old started up front and struck the post during the opening exchanges, before claiming his second goal of Tour 2019 by skinning his marker and executing another fine finish into the net. He was restricted to one half of football for the second successive outing, but with 90 minutes now in his legs our no.10 is clearly enjoying a fruitful pre-season.
NEW SIGNINGS BOTH START
Solskjaer opted to field Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James together for the first time, after they each appeared in different halves against Perth Glory last Saturday. Both of the 21-year-olds performed admirably, too, with English right-back Wan-Bissaka assisting Greenwood’s opening goal and Welsh forward James striking the post just before half-time. Both are settling in nicely.
All six goals on Tour 2019 so far have either been scored or assisted by Academy graduates: Rashford (2), James Garner and Greenwood have all netted, while Andreas Pereira and Tahith Chong set up strikes for Phil Jones and Anthony Martial. The youth system is evidently booming under Solskjaer.
ANGEL GOMES AND TAHITH CHONG
Garner and Greenwood have hit the headlines for their goalscoring exploits, but credit must also go to their two fellow youngsters following another pair of promising performances. Gomes showed his technical ability in the no.10 position and Chong won the penalty from which Martial scored. They look certain to gain more invaluable playing time during the tour and the competitive season that follows.
Solskjaer enthused after Leeds winVideo
With Leeds holding a high defensive line, United’s ability to cause damage on the counter-attack was on full display in Perth and Solskjaer was delighted by the team’s direct running with pace. That tactic appears to be a fundamental part of Ole’s approach for the future and, with so many pacy players available, the results could be devastating in 2019/20. For any United fan, it’s great to see.
A RIVALRY REUNITED IN PERTH
United and Leeds had not played a fixture since a League Cup third-round tie in 2011, so this friendly was highly anticipated by supporters of both clubs in Perth – which led to some fears in the press that there could be trouble among rival fans. Thankfully, and as Solskjaer predicted, that did not happen, and over 55,000 enjoyed the action inside Optus Stadium.
'There's more to come'Video
FOUR OMISSIONS FROM THE SQUAD
Ole confirmed ahead of kick-off that goalkeeper David De Gea was not included in the matchday squad due to illness, while Lee Grant, Romelu Lukaku and Luke Shaw all missed out with slight injuries. The trio will hope to appear in our next fixture, against Internazionale in Singapore on Saturday.