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Confirmed Starting XI: Wan-Bissaka fit to start; Gomes, Greenwood and Chong on the bench against Leicester City

Manchester United welcome Leicester City to Old Trafford this afternoon in their fifth Premier League match of the season. After a great start at home resulting in Chelsea being beaten 4-0, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side has been poor since, drawing with Wolverhampton Wanderers, losing to Crystal Palace and drawing with Southampton.

Brendan Rodgers’ team will be looking for their first victory over United at Old Trafford in more than 21 years with their last victory at the Theatre of Dreams in January 1998. Leicester have had a good start to the season, currently sitting in third place in the league, with United sitting in eighth after three poor results.

September sees United’s number of matches increase with the UEFA Europa League and the Carabao Cup set to start with United facing FC Astana (19/9) and Rochdale (25/9) respectively this month. In order to get back to winning ways, turning the season around, Solskjaer will need to find the answers to the problem he faces; getting the best out of his team.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Young;

Matic, McTominay;

Pereira, Mata, James;

Rashford

Substitutes:

Romero; Jones, Tuanzebe; Fred, Gomes; Greenwood, Chong

Leicester City:

Schmeichel;

Pereira, Evans, Soyuncu, Chilwell;

Ndidi;

Gray, Tielemans, Choudhury, Maddison;

Vardy

Substitutes:

Ward; Justin, Morgan; Albrighton, Praet; Barnes, Perez

United has played Leicester 128 times with United winning 66 matches, drawing 29 and losing 33 times. Leicester last defeated United on the 21 September 2014 in the Premier League, winning 5-3 at the King Power Stadium. In the last 10 meetings, United are undefeated, winning seven times, drawing three times. This time though it could be a tough match.

Key Players and Battles: Harry Maguire, Angel Gomes and Daniel James to lead the battles against Leicester City

Manchester United welcome Leicester City to Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon in their fifth Premier League match of the season. After a great start at home resulting in Chelsea being beaten 4-0, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side has been poor since, drawing with Wolverhampton Wanderers, losing to Crystal Palace and drawing with Southampton.

Brendan Rodgers’ team will be looking for their first victory over United at Old Trafford in more than 21 years with their last victory at the Theatre of Dreams in January 1998. Leicester have had a good start to the season, currently sitting in third place in the league, with United sitting in eighth after three poor results.

September sees United’s number of matches increase with the UEFA Europa League and the Carabao Cup set to start with United facing FC Astana (19/9) and Rochdale (25/9) respectively this month. In order to get back to winning ways, turning the season around, Solskjaer will need to find the answers to the problem he faces; getting the best out of his team.

United has played Leicester 128 times with United winning 66 matches, drawing 29 and losing 33 times. Leicester last defeated United on the 21 September 2014 in the Premier League, winning 5-3 at the King Power Stadium. In the last 10 meetings, United are undefeated, winning seven times, drawing three times. This time though it could be a tough match.

Key Players: Both United and Leicester have many key players to get the job done. However, Leicester have the advantage here based on the fact they are ahead of the game in terms of player development.

Manchester United: David De Gea, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Paul Pogba, Angel Gomes, Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford, Daniel James, Anthony Martial

Leicester City: Kasper Schmeichel, Jonny Evans, Ben Chilwell, Wilfred Ndidi, Marc Albrighton, Youri Tielemans, James Maddison, Hamza Choudhury, Demarai Gray, Jamie Vardy

Key Battles: Harry Maguire v Jamie Vardy, Angel Gomes v Wilfred Ndidi, and Daniel James v Jonny Evans.

Key Battle One: Harry Maguire v Jamie Vardy

The £80 million former Leicester City defender will have a good insight on his opposition ahead of the clash at Old Trafford on Saturday. Maguire has had some clumsy moments for United, another for England during the international break but he will be seeking a return to the best of his abilities ahead of this game. He will have to deal with a tricky striker that goes by the name of Jamie Vardy.

Vardy has scored 110 goals in 274 appearances for Leicester since the 2012/13 season, averaging two goals in five matches, which is a good return for a striker. This season, Vardy has scored three goals in four appearances in the Premier League, showing that he is in the kind of form to grab a goal against United. Maguire will need to get the better of his former teammate.

Key Battle Two: Angel Gomes v Wilfred Ndidi

Angel Gomes has not yet played a minute of competitive football this season, nor has he been included in the match day squad for any of the four matches played so far this season. With the UEFA Europa League and the Carabao Cup commencing this month, that will need to change if he is to get some development in at the club. He is a quick and creative midfielder, who plays in an advanced role.

One Leicester player that could stand in his way is Wilfred Ndidi, the best defensive midfielder in the Premier League based on his statistics last season. Gomes would need to be on top of his game if he was to win this battle but it would be a good experience for him also. He does need to play in order to develop. The few minutes he has played for the first team, at least competitively, it not enough for him to develop his game.

Key Battle Three: Daniel James v Jonny Evans

Daniel James is close to matching a record set by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 23 years ago – scoring a goal in each of his three appearances at Old Trafford. The Welshman has scored twice, one against Chelsea, the other against Crystal Palace in both matches played at the Theatre of Dreams. To score again this weekend would make Solskjaer proud and the Old Trafford faithful will roar his name once again showing how good his signing was.

Former United defender Jonny Evans could perhaps stand in his way of the limelight. In each of his goals scored, including the one for Wales during the international break, James cut in from his position, most of the time from the left. Avoiding the right-back, Evans would be the man to stop him from scoring. The Welshman could match that record after all. For £15 million, potentially rising to £18 million, he’s a bargain.

Manchester United to switch to a ​4-3-3 formation against Leicester City with Angel Gomes and Mason Greenwood starting?

Manchester United welcome Leicester City to Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon in their fifth Premier League match of the season. After a great start at home resulting in Chelsea being beaten 4-0, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side has been poor since, drawing with Wolverhampton Wanderers, losing to Crystal Palace and drawing with Southampton.

Brendan Rodgers’ team will be looking for their first victory over United at Old Trafford in more than 21 years with their last victory at the Theatre of Dreams in January 1998. Leicester have had a good start to the season, currently sitting in third place in the league, with United sitting in eighth after three poor results.

September sees United’s number of matches increase with the UEFA Europa League and the Carabao Cup set to start with United facing FC Astana (19/9) and Rochdale (25/9) respectively this month. In order to get back to winning ways, turning the season around, Solskjaer will need to find the answers to the problem he faces; getting the best out of his team.

United has played Leicester 128 times with United winning 66 matches, drawing 29 and losing 33 times. Leicester last defeated United on the 21 September 2014 in the Premier League, winning 5-3 at the King Power Stadium. In the last 10 meetings, United are undefeated, winning seven times, drawing three times. This time though it could be a tough match.

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

The Spanish goalkeeper is once again linked to signing a new contract at United, also with Juventus in the media linked to signing the player as a free agent, which could well be something that affects his form with mistakes being made this season already. In order to solve this, the player needs to decide whether he wants to stay or move on.

From there, things can work themselves out. More mistakes and the more of a liability De Gea will become. Sergio Romero will be waiting in the wings. De Gea has been great for United but over the past six years, the club has stagnated. It could all change if Solskjaer is given the time to create something, which has started to show, which could see the player remain at the club and fight to win league titles and more in the future.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw

United’s defence has had some investment this summer and there is no doubting that after time, it will work out for United. However, the defence has conceded some poor goals already this season and they have not yet taken on the might of Manchester City and Liverpool. Aaron Wan-Bissaka has a 75% chance of playing this weekend and it is suggested that Luke Shaw is ready to return.

Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire will keep their places with rotation expected this month with the UEFA Europa League and the Carabao Cup commencing for United. These extra matches, with United playing twice each week, could see Axel Tuanzebe and even Brandon Williams both given chances in the first team, which would be great to see.

Midfield Three: Scott McTominay, Paul Pogba, Angel Gomes

The midfield has not been at its best when playing in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Switching to the 4-3-3 formation might give some extra help in this area rather than putting more players in advanced roles. There has been a lack of creativity also. Paul Pogba has not been in form and does not seem happy. He may need to deal with his unhappiness himself though.

If fit, he has a 75% chance of playing, he should play on the left of midfield and Angel Gomes on the right and Scott McTominay playing in the centre, also becoming the defensive-minded midfielder. Between Gomes and Pogba, creativity should be flowing. If, however, Pogba does not perform, he should not play until he’s going to give his all for this club.

Attacking Midfield: Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial, Daniel James

There is plenty of pace in United attack this season. However, there is not a lot of experience either. Marcus Rashford has gone off the boil once again and he needs to find his form. Benching him will also give him a rest ahead of the rest of the money. Anthony Martial, if fit, should lead the line with Daniel James on the left and Mason Greenwood on the right. This could be a devastating forward line if given the chance.

However, I fully expect James to be switched to the right with Rashford starting on the left, which in my opinion, is a waste of James’ ability, who is much better on the left. It’s the position he has scored from, even for Wales this week. United don’t have a right-winger, which is why Greenwood could play here as he likes to cut into the centre of the pitch and has the pace to succeed in this role.

Substitutes: Sergio Romero; Ashley Young, Axel Tuanzebe; Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira, Nemanja Matic; Marcus Rashford

The bench is important for United as there could be players here that could win the game or come on to defend the lead, which could be the difference between United winning all three points, taking one, or even none. Having a mixture of youth an experience would be good here. I would like to see Brandon Williams and James Garner involved, which could happen this month.

For now, though, the usual suspects could be on the bench. Solskjaer will need to find the balance in his team and the players to come off the bench and perform when they are needed. He does make some changes too late in the game for my liking though. In order to give players enough time to get stuck in, substitutions may need to come much earlier in the game.

Preview: Daniel James looking to match scoring record as Manchester United must beat Leicester City

Manchester United -v- Leicester City

Premier League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Saturday 14 September 2019, KO 15:00 BST

Referee: Martin Atkinson Assistants: Lee Betts; Constantine Hatzidakis Fourth Official: Jarred Gillett

VAR: Stuart Attwell Assistant VAR: Peter Kirkup

Manchester United welcome Leicester City to Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon in their fifth Premier League match of the season. After a great start at home resulting in Chelsea being beaten 4-0, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have been poor since, drawing with Wolverhampton Wanderers, losing to Crystal Palace and drawing with Southampton.

Brendan Rodgers’ team will be looking for their first victory over United at Old Trafford in more than 21 years with their last victory at the Theatre of Dreams in January 1998. Leicester have had a good start to the season, currently sitting in third place in the league, with United sitting in eighth after three poor results.

September sees United’s number of matches increase with the UEFA Europa League and the Carabao Cup set to start with United facing FC Astana (19/9) and Rochdale (25/9) respectively this month. In order to get back to winning ways, turning the season around, Solskjaer will need to find the answers to the problem he faces; getting the best out of his team.

Form: Leicester in better form than United with three wins and two draws this season (competitively) so far. United need to return to winning ways.

Manchester United: DLDWWW (* denotes friendly)

Southampton 1-1 D, Crystal Palace 2-1 L, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-1 D, Chelsea 4-0 W, AC Milan 2-2 (5-4 on penalties) W*, Kristiansund 1-0 W*

Leicester City: WWWDDW (* denotes friendly)

Bournemouth 3-1 W, Newcastle United 1-1 (4-2) W, Sheffield United 2-1 W, Chelsea 1-1 D, Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-0 D, Atalanta 2-1 W*

Top Scorers: Daniel James aiming to match a record set by his manager 23 years ago with three goals in three appearances at Old Trafford?

Manchester United: Solskjaer’s side has scored seven goals in four competitive matches this season, which is problematic considering they have not won a match since the 4-0 victory over Chelsea on the opening weekend of the Premier League season.

Goals: 3 – Daniel James, 2 – Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford

Assists: 2 – Paul Pogba, 1 – Andreas Pereira, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Scott McTominay

Daniel James has scored three times this season, twice at Old Trafford. If he scores against Leicester on Saturday, he will become the first player since Solskjaer himself to score in his first three appearances at the Theatre of Dreams, a feat the Norwegian achieved 23 years ago.

Leicester City: Rodgers’ side has scored as many goals as United this season but has three more points on the board after winning twice and drawing twice so far this season. They will be a threat to Solskjaer’s side with United still trying to find their form which was masked after Chelsea victory at the start of the season.

Goals: 3 – Jamie Vardy, 1 – Harvey Barnes, James Maddison, Wilfred Ndidi, Youri Tielemans

Assists: 2 – James Maddison, 1 – Ben Chilwell, Caglar Soyuncu, Jamie Vardy, Youri Tielemans

Leicester have some very good players in their squad this season, which could be something that puts them ahead of United, at the present time anyway. This will be a tricky match for United and the fact that Leicester have not won at Old Trafford since 1998 could see another record broken.

Team News: Solskjaer sweating on the return of five injured or ill players ahead of the Leicester match; youth should see more involvement in this team with creativity still a major problem.

Solskjaer will be sweating on the fitness of at least five of his players ahead of this match against Leicester. Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard (illness) and Anthony Martial all have a 75% chance of facing Rodgers’ side on Saturday. Luke Shaw has been on the sidelines also but there is a suggestion that he could be fit and ready to play.

Diogo Dalot, Eric Bailly and Tim Fosu-Mensah will be out of action for this match which may see some of the clubs talented youth players drafted into the first team with Mason Greenwood now a regular, at least from the bench, with Angel Gomes and Tahith Chong looking to further their development into the first team.

Rodgers is expected to be without three players; Wes Morgan who has a back injury, Matthew James, and Daniel Amartey who are both long-term absentees from the Leicester squad this season. Leicester will be heading to United full of confidence after their start to the season and Marc Albrighton feels his side could scalp United.

Predicted Starting XI: A formation change with Marcus Rashford starting on the bench, if Anthony Martial is fit to start with the likes of Mason Greenwood and Angel Gomes included from the start?

Solskjaer needs to find a way that his team can succeed. This season, 16 players have been used with some talented youth players not getting a look in. This will need to change or the team will continue to stagnate. Giving Rashford a rest and starting both Gomes and Greenwood could see United change matches, which is what they need to be doing.

Match Prediction: United have history on their side against Leicester but these things are not certain. In order to win, Solskjaer team will need to be much better than their opposition – are they though?

United has played Leicester 128 times with United winning 66 matches, drawing 29 and losing 33 times. Leicester last defeated United on the 21 September 2014 in the Premier League, winning 5-3 at the King Power Stadium. In the last 10 meetings, United are undefeated, winning seven times, drawing three times. This time though it could be a tough match.

Manchester United 1-1 Leicester City

Back to Old Trafford, back to reality for Manchester United

With the International Break done and dusted, Manchester United return to Premier League action this weekend, welcoming Leicester City to Old Trafford. The former champions find themselves third in the table and are also one of three sides who are unbeaten in the league. Let’s take a look at how both squads shape up for the clash, by seeing how their players have fared over the break.

Manchester United

Starting close to home, four of United’s players were selected to represent England in qualifying matches for next summer’s European Championships. Aaron Wan-Bissaka received a maiden call-up but was forced to drop out on account of a back injury. That was particularly unfortunate for the Croydon-born right-back, who would’ve no doubt been eager to make his England debut, after impressing over the last 18 months and earning the move to Old Trafford.

Jesse Lingard was also selected but later dropped out due to illness. The two who were able to play were Harry Maguire and Marcus Rashford, who both started and the played the full 90 in the first match against Bulgaria. Rashford won a penalty and switched from playing on the wing to playing up front for the last 15 minutes or so as England swept Bulgaria aside 4-0.

Maguire had the honour of briefly captaining the side for these minutes and preserved their clean sheet. Their next game proved to be one of the most entertaining of the break, as they beat a spirited Kosovo side 5-3, with Maguire playing from start to finish and conceding a contentious penalty, while Rashford emerged as a substitute for the last few minutes.

Further afield, David de Gea has seemingly lost his place as Spain’s first-choice goalkeeper, this after a dramatic loss of form over the last few months. The 28-year-old, who is reportedly on the verge of signing a contract extension with United, did not play against Romania in Spain’s first UEFA Euro 2020 qualifier of the break. He returned to the starting line-up to keep a clean sheet against the Faroe Islands, in a 4-0 win for La Roja.

In the same qualification group, Victor Lindelöf scored his third goal for Sweden when they defeated the Faroe Islands 4-0. They were then held to a 1-1 draw at home to fellow Scandinavians Norway, which prompted United’s centre-back to criticise his own performance. In all honesty, he has not been at his best this season and will be looking to bounce back after playing 180 minutes with his nation.

Scott McTominay featured heavily for Scotland over the past week, starting both of their qualifying matches. They were beaten 2-1 by Russia, before suffering a hammering at the hands of Belgium, losing 4-0. In that game, United’s towering centre-midfielder picked up a booking that will see him miss the Scots next encounter, away against Russia during the next International Break, in around a month’s time. He played a total of around 170 minutes.

August’s Player of the Month, Daniel James, started both of Wales’ games this past week. He played the full 90 minutes as Wales picked up three points in their qualification group with a late 2-1 victory over Azerbaijan. The speedy winger then started and scored the winner in their friendly against Belarus, before being given a rest, early in the second half. This goal was particularly pleasing for United supporters, who noted that James has scored three strikingly similar goals coming off the left flank already this season.

Frenchmen Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial were unable to play a part in their country’s games during the break, owing to injury. Pogba was initially selected for Les Bleus but was forced to drop out, as he suffered an ankle injury late on in United’s last game away at Southampton. Martial missed out on selection and that game, owing to a thigh injury suffered during United’s defeat to Crystal Palace the week prior.

Outside manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s preferred players so far this season, Marcos Rojo returned to action with Argentina after not taking the field in their friendly against rivals Chile. He started and completed 90 minutes in their next match against Mexico. The tough-tackling defender picked a customary yellow card in this match, as La Albiceleste ran out 4-0 winners. He seems likely to leave United sometime soon, either in January or next summer.

Experienced midfielder Nemanja Matić featured in both of Serbia’s games this past week, starting and playing the full 90 as they were defeated 4-2, by reigning European and Nations League champions Portugal. He dropped to the bench for their second qualifying fixture against Luxembourg but emerged to see out the final 10 minutes or so of their 3-1 victory. At youth level, Mason Greenwood made his debut for England’s under-21 side, remarkably at just 17.

He appeared twice as a substitute in their qualifiers for the UEFA European Under-21 Championship, with the next edition set to take place in June 2021. His maiden appearance came against the Turkish under-21 side, as England fought back late on to win 3-2. Greenwood followed this up with a more lengthy appearance against the Kosovo under-21 team, playing the last half-hour as England won 2-0. Angel Gomes and Brandon Williams were involved with the England under-20 squad in their U20 Elite League fixtures.

Williams started both games at left-back, while Gomes started the first game against the Dutch under-20s and dropped to the bench for the second match, against the Swiss under-20 side. They were not defeated, drawing the first game goalless, before claiming a late 1-0 win in the second. Winger Tahith Chong received a call-up to the Netherlands under-21 squad to face their counterparts from Cyprus in their only qualifying fixture during the break.

He stepped off the bench for the last 20 minutes as they emphatically won the match 5-1. United’s academy also had reason to celebrate this past week. Reserve team midfielder Ethan Galbraith made his senior debut for Northern Ireland, albeit in a friendly against Luxembourg. On-loan goalkeeper Kieran O’Hara meanwhile, made his senior debut for the Republic of Ireland, in their friendly against Bulgaria.

Leicester City

Kasper Schmeichel kept two clean sheets, although Denmark were held to a surprise goalless draw against Georgia in their qualifying group. The Danes had thumped Gibraltar 6-0 in their earlier fixture. Ben Chilwell sat out England’s match against Bulgaria but returned from injury to start in the eight-goal thriller against Kosovo. Former United defender Jonny Evans meanwhile, also featured for 90 minutes for Northern Ireland, as they were defeated 2-0 by Germany in their qualifying fixture.

He sat out the earlier friendly against Luxembourg. Impressive defender Çağlar Söyüncü played the full 90 in one of Turkey’s qualifying fixtures over the break, picking up a booking but also keeping a clean sheet in a 1-0 win against minnows Andorra. Talented midfield players Youri Tielemans, Dennis Praet and James Maddison were all selected to represent their nations. Tielemans started both of Belgium’s games, the 4-0 thrashing of Scotland, which preceded a victory over San Marino by the same score-line.

Compatriot Praet made a substitute appearance in the San Marino game. Maddison was unable to make his international debut, as he remained on the bench for both England’s games over the past week. Leicester’s Nigerian internationals, Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho did not feature in the Super Eagles’ recent fixture, a 2-2 draw against Ukraine. Regular defensive midfielder Ndidi was not called up, while deputy striker Iheanacho was selected but did not take the field.

Manchester United vs Leicester City

United were victorious in both league fixtures against the Foxes last season. They kicked off 2018/19 with a 2-1 win over Leicester at Old Trafford, with Pogba and Luke Shaw scoring for the Red Devils and Jamie Vardy getting a late consolation for the visitors. This match, of course, came to a short while after players on both sides progressed to the latter stages of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

The return fixture at the King Power Stadium yielded a 1-0 win for United, courtesy of an early goal from Rashford. This particular fixture is likely to be more difficult for United on this occasion. Leicester’s key players have been in good form of late, and many of them have been able to get some rest over the International Break.

Vardy in particular, is in good formhas a decent record against United and the other clubs in the top six and has been able to recharge his batteries over the break. This fixture will also be the first time Harry Maguire faces one of his former sides since his world-record move to United, the next being in November when the Red Devils travel to face Sheffield United, the English centre-back’s boyhood club.

As strange as it may seem, United manager Solskjaer is probably a little envious of some of the players his opposite number, Brendan Rodgers will have at his disposal this weekend. Tielemans, Maddison, Ndidi and Chilwell are, among others, a few players who would be in and around United’s current preferred starting XI.

Solskjaer will no doubt be keeping an eye on them and he will have also warned his players of the qualities of these players and the dangers they will bring.

In Closing

Without a doubt, United need to get back to winning ways as soon as possible. Their league fixtures this month will each be a challenge, but claiming victory in one of the more difficult matches will only boost their confidence that much more. The first game after the International Break is never easy and it will be the same for Leicester, of course.

The Foxes, however, will be relishing playing United, particularly at this point in time. United’s performances prior to the break were error-strewn and they will be facing a high-flying side, with less preparation time than for any of their previous league fixtures. Nevertheless, they need to get back on track.

Written by Shiven Nayager

Paddy McNair linked with a loan move to Celtic or Burnley?

Manchester United Academy star Paddy McNair, clearly not part of Jose Mourinho’s plans this season could well be heading out of the club on a loan deal, or maybe even a permanent deal should one be touted. The 21-year-old Northern Ireland international has already been linked to Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic and Sean Dyche’s Burnley, according to the Daily Record. The Sun carry some quotes from Rodgers when asked about bringing the player into the club this summer, of which he said:

“I can’t deny or say yes or no to that because there have been so many players who have been thrown our way or linked with Celtic. I can’t comment on everyone.”

Former Liverpool manager Rodgers seemed to choose his words wisely so as not to confirm anything, or even suggest they were interested in the player. That is not the only option open to McNair, who could join former United teammate Michael Keane, providing he remains at the club after interest from Leicester City earlier this summer, which may be of benefit for him. In the run-up to the European Championships this summer, in which Northern Ireland got out of the group states but, beaten 1-0 by Wales, McNair played as a defensive midfielder, a role which is preferred by the player himself, rather than playing in central defence or as a right-back, which may be of benefit to his suitors.

Dyche is a fan of McNair and previously tried to get the player from United in January, but was unable to find an agreement with the Old Trafford club at the time. Burnley need to find new players in a bid to remain in the top-flight this season after winning the Championship last season and earning promotion. Dyche and Burnley would be willing to lock horns with United again in order to conduct a deal for the player, presumably on a loan deal as it would not contain a massive fee or bonus, which may benefit the Premier League newcomers. Mourinho would be satisfied with a loan spell for McNair, but a permanent deal is something the Old Trafford club would welcome.

Last season, McNair made nine appearances for United’s first team, failing to become a regular. He played the same amount of games for Northern Ireland last season, featuring twice in the European Championships in France. McNair made 10 appearances, scoring once for Warren Joyce’s U21 side last season, who retained their Barclays U21 Premier League title. Whilst McNair is a competent player, he has found it hard to find a place in the team. Now he has chosen to play in midfield, a position which is even tougher to break into, the chances of him playing for United again may be quite slim. That, however, will not stop him from forging a career at another club, which I am sure he will do. A loan spell this season may help him achieve that next summer, or even in January, unless clubs place offers to take McNair away from United permanently before deadline day.

copyright: JW