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Ratings: Manchester United 1-0 Villarreal – Premier League International Cup 2016/17

In the club’s first foray into the Premier League International Cup, Manchester United’s U23’s faced off against reigning champions Villarreal at what can now be called the youth side’s home ground of Leigh Sports Village. It was an impressive start to the tournament for the young reds against a far more experienced side as they won 1-0 thanks to a Josh Harrop goal, in which they then controlled the game expertly. Regan Poole, Ethan Hamilton and Charlie Scott had impressive performances whilst Axel Tuanzebe and Joe Riley continue to look above their current level. On the whole, though the side can be proud of the way in which they went about a match that was delayed by an hour due to weather and floodlight issues. Warren Joyce will be pleased his team could get the result they wanted, winning their first Premier League International Cup fixture against the current holders. United next face Sparta Prague in December.

Goals: Josh Harrop 34′

Assists: Ethan Hamilton 34

Manchester United: Johnstone; El Fitouri, Tuanzebe, Poole, Riley; Scott, McTominay; Redmond(Olosunde 46′), Willock, Harrop (Kehinde 80′), Hamilton (Mitchell 90+3′)

Substitutes Not Used: Henderson, Doughty, O’Connor

Here are the player ratings from the 1-0 victory over Villarreal in the Premier League International Cup:

Manchester United

Sam Johnstone

Johnstone did his job when called upon although he potentially could've been helpless for two of Villarreal's early chances as they got through United's defence twice in the first five minutes. He had no outstanding saves to make but that's no fault against the 23-year-old as he kept a clean sheet.

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Ratings: Manchester United 1-0 Villarreal – Premier League International Cup 2016/17

He was tidy in possession and was looking to move the ball around quickly in attack which contributed to United's upheld pressure on the Villarreal defence. However, he was suspect positionally and was fortunate that it didn't cost his side at different stages in the match.

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38 Axel Tuanzebe

The new captain at this level put in a performance typical of him at this level, superb defensively and superb on the ball, there's little more he could do to impress any further. Although his runs forward are nothing new, one that he made in this game saw Tuanzebe find himself in a promising position offensively, as a result of which he hit a cracking shot from 25 yards out which could easily have doubled United's tally.

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Regan Poole

This was one of Poole's best performances since joining the club last summer. Committed in the tackle and making important interceptions throughout the match, the Welshman was defending on the front foot and was completely successful in doing so. He was also comfortable in possession and wasn't afraid to venture out with the ball, much like his centre-back partner, this greatly contributed to the team building up from the back and maintaining control of the match.

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Joe Riley

Yet another lively game from fullback Joe Riley. A great run forward early on almost set up Willock for what would have been the opener; it was a lung busting effort which deserved an end product but sheer number of yellow shirts in the middle meant that this wasn't the case but this was a sign of what was to come from Riley as he continued to get forward throughout the whole match relentlessly. He also did his job defensively and didn't put a foot wrong all night.

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Scott McTominay

Strong both in the tackle and on the ball, McTominay is growing in stature in games and showing why central midfield is his best position as opposed to lone-ranger upfront. He rotated with makeshift striker Matty Willock well, swapping positions seamlessly throughout the 90 minutes although he could mainly be found performing box-to-box duties. He was brought down numerous times when getting forward, a tribute to how elusive he was, he'd have hoped for better end product on his runs forward but he did well nonetheless.

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Charlie Scott

Scott was comfortable on the ball in what was his first start at Under-23 level and he would've done no harm to his chances of getting more minutes from here onwards. In an unfamiliar wide right midfield position, he got forward well and contributed to attacks, rarely if ever lost possession and, vitally, covered for El Fitouri well on numerous occasions, showing that he still had his defensive head on.

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Devonte Redmond

It was another quiet game for the midfielder although he was part of a well-functioning midfield which shut down Villarreal's efforts for the most part. Positionally he looked much better than in previous matches and made a couple of good cross field passes but he'll still be looking to impose himself in matches more, both in regaining possession and breaking lines going up the pitch. He was taken off at half-time but it is unknown whether it was tactical or forced.

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Ratings: Manchester United 1-0 Villarreal – Premier League International Cup 2016/17

Harrop got his first goal in a long time with what proved to be the winner for the Under-23s, as he was played in by Ethan Hamilton and finished well with his left foot from what was a narrowing angle. He was booked for simulation in the first half but got on with the game and was influential in the final third for United, with winning the ball high up the pitch as well as creating chances.

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Ethan Hamilton

The standout player for United in what was his first start for the Under-23s. The Under-18 player got the assist for Josh Harrop's goal and it was a fitting reward for his efforts. Playing in left midfield, he was proficient in attack and should have had the second assist for Joe Riley late in the game to clinch it but the fullback skewed his effort. He recovered the ball well consistently in the game and his pressing was second to none on the pitch; Hamilton also showed good awareness positionally, picking opportune times to drift centrally and take advantage of the space ahead of him, which led to his most of his brightest moments in attack although he wasn't afraid to try to beat his man done the outside.

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Matty Willock

In an unusual role for him, Willock put in as could a performance as you could hope for. His hold up play was decent and he often managed to keep hold of the ball and lay it back to his onrushing supporters. He lacked the movement of a natural centre-forward which is to be expected but he played the false nine position well and allowed his teammates to have some promising moments running off of him, he also dropped into midfield at times which added a needed extra body. Was the most impressive player in the dying minutes of the game for United as he expertly killed off the match further up the pitch.

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Substitutes

Matthew Olosunde

On for Devonte Redmond. He came at half time and done a similar job to Redmond although he came under slightly less pressure. Remains to be seen where he is truly most comfortable on the pitch but he put in a decent performance.

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Tosin Kehinde

On for Josh Harrop. Was energetic in pressing the Villarreal back line when he came on but he had little time to do anything on the ball as United looked to hold the game out.

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35 Demetri Mitchell

On for Ethan Hamilton. Only had little over a minute on the pitch.

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