Confirmed XI: Ronaldo returns, Garnacho, Eriksen and Martinez start; Savage, Iqbal, Hansen and McNeill on the bench

Erik ten Hag fields a strong side against Rayo Vallecano - youth on the bench

Manchester United welcome Spanish side Rayo Vallecano at Old Trafford in the final pre-season match of the summer. In a week’s time United will face Brighton and Hove Albion in the opening Premier League match of the season at the Theatre of Dreams. United played their penultimate pre-season match on Saturday, losing 1-0 to Atletico Madrid.

Erik ten Hag has stated that the players that started against Atletico will sit out of Sunday’s match which means David De Gea, Diogo Dalot, Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof, Tyrell Malacia, Fred, Scott McTominay, Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes, Anthony Elanga and Anthony Martial will be unavailable.

The Dutchman also stated that players who came on as substitutes in that match could start or make an appearance in Sunday’s match. There will be other players in the squad, some who travelled to Thailand and Australia plus some younger players. Cristiano Ronaldo is also expected to be part of the squad and play at Old Trafford.

Whether this is a U-Turn by the Portuguese forward or a return to life at United will remain to be seen. This should be a good match at Old Trafford though, one for the fans to get them ready for a week’s time when the results start to mean everything whilst pre-season is all about fitness and getting things ready for the new season.

Manchester United

Heaton;

Laird, Varane, Martinez, Telles;

Garner, van de Beek;

Chong, Eriksen, Garnacho;

Ronaldo

Substitutes

Bishop, Kovar; Bailly, Fish, Wellens; Amad, Hannibal, Shoretire, Savage, Iqbal, Hansen-Aaroen; McNeill

Rayo Vallecano

Dimitrievski;

F. García, Suárez, Catena, Balliu;

Ciss, López;

Palazón, Trejo, Á. García;

Falcao

Substitutes

López; Hernández; Méndez, Nteka, Salvi, Muñoz, Valentin, Comesaña, Pozo, Moreno

United will be seeking to put together a strong side to face their Spanish opposition but also allow the occasion to see some promising youth at the Theatre of Dreams, as would be the case in a pre-season friendly at Old Trafford. Cristiano Ronaldo should return for this match but playing later in the match based on his late return to training.

I would expect to see both Lisandro Martinez and Christian Eriksen in this match even though the latter made his debut on Saturday, playing for about 20 minutes or so meaning that he should have about 45 minutes in him, which would be beneficial ahead of the Premier League opener at Old Trafford next Sunday.

I would presume that Martinez could play either 60 or 90 minutes in this match being that he has been training with Ajax for a number of weeks before his transfer and presumably keeping fit at home whilst waiting for his work permit to come through. It would be good to see what he can offer United.

The likes of James Garner and Charlie Savage playing in this match would be good as both have something to give the club in the not too distant future with Garner seemingly getting his chance in the first team this season, unless it is decided that a season on loan would be more beneficial for him. I think United should win this match, but I guess we will see.

Written by John Walker

About John Walker 1712 Articles
I support Manchester United, the greatest English football team to have ever existed. Bruno Fernandes is the latest in a long line of players with great ability to play for the club. I idolised Bryan Robson, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, and Eric Cantona growing up.