The Debate: Will Ten Hag ring the changes against Villa?
Manchester United’s starting XI for the Carabao Cup tie with Aston Villa will include many changes, according to the panellists on this week’s episode of The Debate.
The Reds were defeated in the Premier League by the same opponents on Sunday and, following that showing, Erik ten Hag is tipped to make alterations to his side for the Villans' trip to Old Trafford on Thursday night (kick-off 20:00 GMT).
“I think there’ll be changes and I think [some of the] young kids will come in as well,” said former Reds defender David May.
“But it’s going to be a tough, tough game. I don’t think we’ll play as bad as on Sunday – that was appalling, really. Considering the games we played before that and the way we played, [it was] just so much out of character.
“But there are going to be bumps in the road and the next game’s Villa, and we’ve got to make sure we win that as well.”
Fellow ex-United player Danny Webber agreed with May, but maintained that certain members of Erik’s first team should still remain in the side.
“You would make changes, definitely,” he said. “But keep the skeleton of what [Erik has] being doing. So the likes of Martinez, Casemiro, I think, would stay in the side.
“But then you’ve got to give game time to people like Scott McTominay and Fred, who have done well for the majority of times when they’ve come in this season. Alongside Casemiro, that seems to work as well.
“I think there will be changes made, definitely.”
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Donny van de Beek and McTominay in particular are backed to start by the BBC’s Simon Stone, who explained that United’s jam-packed fixture calendar before and after the winter World Cup will play a role in Ten Hag’s decision-making.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if he did play both of them [McTominay and van de Beek], actually, on Thursday. Because we all know that the World Cup is having an impact on the season. The next round of the League Cup is literally two days after the World Cup final.
“Anyone who is involved in the semi-finals, which means they’ll either play in the final or the third-place match in the final weekend, they’re not going to be involved in that game.
“You’ve got these two games in Spain that United have arranged, and McTominay and van de Beek won’t be playing in the World Cup, so they’ll be there. I think you’ve got to have half an eye on what’s going to happen after the World Cup and who’s going to carry you [through].”