Manchester United welcome back attacker Jesse Lingard into the squad for their Europa League clash against Partizan Belgrade, but David de Gea misses out.
Manchester United will be looking to claim top spot in Group L of the 2019-20 UEFA Europa League, when they lock horns with current leaders Partizan Belgrade in Serbia on Thursday.
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will have to make do without star goalkeeper David de Gea, who has not made the cut for the 20-man squad for the trip. The Spaniard played at the weekend against Liverpool, despite picking up an injury on international duty and is being rested, the manager confirmed.
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“David will be ready for Sunday [away to Norwich City] but we didn’t take the risk of travelling with him, no,” Solskjaer told MUTV on the eve of the game. With de Gea not travelling, Sergio Romero is set to don the gloves for Manchester United against Partizan.
Luke Shaw is currently in Dubai undergoing warm weather training as he looks to regain full fitness, Solskjaer confirmed. Diogo Dalot, Axel Tuanzebe and Eric Bailly are all out with injuries, while captain Ashley Young has been left behind by Manchester United for their trip to Belgrade, meaning there will at least be one change in defence.
Solskjaer is expected to revert to a four-man backline on Thursday, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka starting at right-back and youngster Brandon Williams getting an opportunity on the left. Victor Lindelof could be given a breather here, with Harry Maguire and Marcos Rojo likely to pair up at the heart of the Manchester United defence.
The Red Devils will go into the game against Partizan without key midfielder Paul Pogba once again, while Nemanja Matic, who wasn’t in the matchday squad against Liverpool, is also recuperating from an injury in Dubai along with Shaw. That leaves Solskjaer with little room for rotation in midfield, meaning Fred and Scott McTominay are likely to start once again.
Manchester United have been handed a boost in the attacking department as Jesse Lingard is back in the reckoning after missing the last two matches. “It’s fantastic to have him back fit. He’s been so lively and bubbly in training. I don’t know how much game time we’ll give him but he looks like he needs to catch up on lost time,” Solskjaer said about the Englishman.
It seems unlikely that Lingard will be rushed back into action by the manager, but he could get some minutes from the bench. However, there will be some changes in the attacking unit against Partizan, with teenage sensation Mason Greenwood likely to get a look-in on the right flank, while Juan Mata should get a chance as the Manchester United’s No. 10.
Daniel James has been one of the few bright aspects of Manchester United’s season and he should be retained in the side on the left flank. Marcus Rashford scored in the Liverpool game, but is likely to drop to the bench in Belgrade, with Anthony Martial likely to lead the line after making his return from injury at the weekend.
Manchester United Predicted XI: Romero; Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Rojo, Williams; Fred, McTominay; Greenwood, Mata, James; Martial