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Preview: Manchester United v Leicester City – Premier League 2 2016/17

Leigh Sports Village, Leigh

Premier League 2

Monday 15th August 2016, KO 19:00 [Live on MUTV]

Manchester United U23’s open the new Premier League 2 season as reigning U21 champions, facing Leicester City U23’s. Last season United dominated at this age level having the experience of Adnan Januzaj and Andreas Pereira to help them, but Warren Joyce’s side had potential before both were drafted in to help the U21’s retain their league title. This season the same faces will be present; James Weir, Joshua Harrop, Matty Willock, Dean Henderson, Sadiq El Fitouri, Joe Riley, Axel Tuanzebe et al. United will be looking to dominate once again, winning the first Premier League 2 trophy, to add to the trophies they have won over the past few years. The Premier League 2 might offer a bit more competition this season in that things have changed. Warren Joyce has noticed change over the last few years, saying:

“I’ve noticed the league has been more competitive over the last two years really. There were signs last year people weren’t sending their best players out on loan necessarily because they were keeping them and trying to develop them themselves. There were a lot of competitive games, some good football played, a number of games at stadiums and with reasonable crowds. 

“I noticed that last year and certain similar tactical problems crop up to those at first-team level to help develop the boys. I guess it’s a bit of wait and see really but the main concern is ourselves and just to set up in the way we want to play so the players know their jobs with and without the ball.”

This season, emergency loan moves are no longer allowed with all loan spells needing to be completed by the closure of the summer transfer window, which closes at 23:00 BST on Wednesday 31st August 2016. This will give managers like Joyce a little bit more surety with his squad, knowing that talented players who have not moved on deadline day will be with him until at least January, maybe the remainder of the season. Currently, Adnan Januzaj and Guillermo Varela are the only two players to have made loan moves to Sunderland and Eintracht Frankfurt respectively. Speaking of loan moves, suggesting that more players could leave in the coming weeks, Joyce said:

“I would imagine, over the coming weeks, a few more will leave on loan. They are ready for those steps and have got to be playing against men to show what they can do and push on from now. Once the window shuts, you know exactly what you’ve got and what your numbers are.”

Manchester United have seen a few players leave this summer, namely Joe Rothwell who left for Oxford United, Donald Love, and Paddy McNair both left for Sunderland and Nick Powell, now at Wigan Athletic. This may have left United a little short in the ranks with other players looking to fill the void. The Premier League 2 will now allow players under the age of 23 fill the squads with one overage goalkeeper and up to three overage outfield players allowed to compete in the squad. Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, a first team player last season, is not in Jose Mourinho’s plans for the coming season and could face a loan spell away from the club, could be involved if fit, as could Timothy Fosu-Mensah, who again played within the first team last season, but is again not in Mourinho’s plans for the coming season, but has a big future with the team – could also be involved if fit. Scott McTominay was drafted in as a makeshift centre-forward against Oldham Athletic in the Lancashire Senior Cup, with United losing on penalties, which could well be the case again, unless Will Keane will be drafted in as the striker, or even James Wilson, who both will not be involved in the first team this season, with loan moves or even permanent moves on the cards.

Scott McTominay was drafted in as a makeshift centre-forward against Oldham Athletic in the Lancashire Senior Cup, with United losing on penalties, which could well be the case again, unless Will Keane will be drafted in as the striker, or even James Wilson, who both will not be involved in the first team this season, with loan moves or even permanent moves on the cards. One player who will not be involved is Joel Castro Pereira who is currently representing Portugal at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this summer, with his side making it to the quarter-final stage, being beaten 4-0 by Germany.

Manchester United U23 Squad:

Manager: Warren Joyce

Goalkeepers: Joel Castro Pereira, Dean Henderson, Kieran O’Hara

Defenders: Matthew Olosunde, Axel Tuanzebe, Regan Poole, Charlie Scott, Sadiq El Fitouri, Joe Riley

Midfielders: Scott McTominay, James Weir, Tosin Kehinde, Josh Harrop, Sean Goss, Devonte Redmond, Matty Willock

Forwards: Demitri Mitchell, Josh Doughty

Leicester City U23 Squad:

Manager: Steve Beaglehole

Goalkeepers: Daniel Iversen, Max Bramley

Defenders: Callum Elder, Cedric Kipre, Elliott Moore, Josh Knight, Darnell Johnson

Midfielders: Michael Cain, Danny Rowe, Matty Miles, Harvey Barnes, Brandon Fox, Hamza Choudhury

Forwards: Admiral Muskwe, Kairo Mitchell, Layton Ndukwu, Raul Uche

Manchester United U23 Form:

Oldham Athletic 1-1 (3-4 penalties) L, Port Vale 4-2 L, Salford City 5-1 W, Altrincham 2-1 W, Blackpool 3-0 L

Leicester City U23 Form:

Notts County 2-0 W, The New Saints 2-1 W, Rosenborg 3-2 W, Chesterfield 3-1 L, Sheffield Wednesday 1-1 D, Nuneaton Town 2-0 W, Fakenham Town 7-0 W, Ilkeston 3-1 W

Predicted Starting XI:

Predicted Score:

Manchester United 2-1 Leicester City

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