Manchester United have this afternoon announced their 25-man squad for the pre-season tour of the United States of America in which they will play in the Guinness International Champions Cup facing AS Roma, Inter Milan and Real Madrid. They will also play a friendly match against LA Galaxy for the Chevrolet Cup, which will be the first fixture of their pre-season campaign. United will return to England after the Real Madrid match, unless they make it to the final, which will be played in Miami on Monday 4th August.
United manager Louis van Gaal, who sat with the press for the first time at Old Trafford on Thursday, has selected a varied squad for the tour, which was to be expected with this summers FIFA World Cup taking place, meaning the likes of Robin van Persie, Adnan Januzaj, Marouane Fellaini, Patrice Evra and Javier Hernandez will miss either all or part of the tour due to being given the same amount of holiday as the United players that exited the tournament at the group stages. The squad travelling to Los Angeles is a side that Van Gaal should be able to get results with. It will also be the first time that new signings Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw will play for United.
Manchester United Tour 2014 Squad:
Goalkeepers: David De Gea, Anders Lindegaard, Ben Amos, Sam Johnstone;
Defenders: Rafael da Silva, Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Luke Shaw, Tyler Blackett, Michael Keane, Reece James;
Midfielders: Ander Herrera, Tom Cleverley, Darren Fletcher, Ashley Young, Wilfried Zaha, Shinji Kagawa, Juan Mata, Antonio Valencia, Nani, Jesse Lingard;
Forwards: Danny Welbeck, Wayne Rooney, Will Keane
The starting eleven that I would consider the strongest for the pre-season tour is:
I would imagine that the likes of Lindegaard, Amos and Johnstone will get their chance to play, or at least impress the new manager in training but one or two of them may be casualties of the new regime with them either being sold or loaned out for the season. Defensively, United are not all that strong. The loss of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic will be seen if none of the players step in and show their colours. I am happy to see Michael Keane, Blackett and James being given a chance. There is still no right-back cover for Rafael, but Keane did play in that position whilst on loan with Blackburn Rovers last season, so perhaps there is a clue in the role he could play in future at the club.
United’s midfield is pretty weak. Michael Carrick is out for around three months, which leaves Herrera, Cleverley and Fletcher in the squad travelling, but Marouane Fellaini will be the only other player to add to the midfield before the season starts, so it is still a crucial area for the new manager to rebuild and I am sure he already knows that. Attacking minded midfielders are pretty strong for United on the tour with Mata, Kagawa, Young, Valencia, Nani, Zaha and a player that should have been given a chance last season; Lingard. I am sure the England U21 star will show his new manager how he can fit into the first team, especially with the fact that Nani and Young are out of chances after a poor season, but we will see what happens.
United forwards are quite strong with Rooney and Welbeck travelling and I am happy to see that Will Keane is going to be given a chance to shine. A few years ago he was set for the first team but injury curtailed that and he has struggled to get his career back on track. He’s got a full season under his belt now with a loan spell to help him get back into the swing of things.
Manchester United’s Fixtures are as follows;
24th July – LA Galaxy – KO 04:06 BST
26th July – AS Roma – KO 21:06 BST
30th July – Inter Milan – KO 00:30 BST
2nd August – Real Madrid – KO 21:06 BST