Home Football English Football This Brilliant Second-String Manchester United Side Shows Just How Much Strength In Depth They Now Boast

This Brilliant Second-String Manchester United Side Shows Just How Much Strength In Depth They Now Boast

Manchester United have already spent in excess of £100 million this summer but will be adding further to their squad in the coming weeks.

Jose Mourinho has addressed the most glaring problems in his squad already by recruiting a proven Premier League goalscorer in Romelu Lukaku and a dependable centre-back in Victor Lindelof. Meanwhile, Wayne Rooney, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Adnan Januzaj are the only senior players to have left the club since the end of the season.

All this means the Reds now have an ever-growing squad littered with genuine quality. For proof, you need look no further than the second-string side the Special One could name. If we’re assuming the following is Mourinho’s first XI, those left out could make up a very impressive side.

Second-String

Goalkeeper

HERNING, DENMARK - FEBRUARY 18: Sergio Romero of Man United saves the ball during the UEFA Europa League match between FC Midtjylland and Manchester United at MCH Arena on February 18, 2016 in Herning, Denmark.

Unusually, United are better covered between the sticks than they are in any outfield position. In fact, the Reds could even survive two goalkeeping injuries with young Joel Pereira waiting in the wings should Sergio Romero be sidelined. The Argentinian established himself last season as probably the finest backup keeper in the game during his side’s cup runs. His footwork often leaves much to be desired but is a more than able deputy for David De Gea.

Defence

 

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 14: Phil Jones of Manchester United (L) and Marcos Rojo of Manchester United (R) argue with the referee after there was no penalty given during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Manchester United at Selhurst Park on December 14, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)

Mourinho is sure to offload some of his defensive options before the end of the transfer window but for the moment, he has plenty of cover at the back. Matteo Darmian could yet be first-choice left-back but if Luke Shaw can stay fit and on his manager’s good side, he should make that place his own. In this lineup, the Italian slots in at right-back with Daley Blind on the other flank.

The unlikely pairing of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo thrived at the heart of United’s defence during their fine Christmas form and even convinced the manager to delay signing Lindelof until the summer. They may be perennially suspect but their combination, for whatever reason, worked brilliantly.

Midfield

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN - MAY 24: Paul Pogba (bottom) and Anthony Martial (top) of Manchester United celebrate winning the UEFA Europa League final match between Ajax and Manchester United at Friends Arena on May 24, 2017 in Stockholm, Sweden. (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images)

Whether it be Nemanja Matic or Eric Dier, Jose Mourinho will be making further additions to his choices in midfield. It’s unquestionably the area of the pitch where his side are worst covered and considering Michael Carrick, 36 next week, is the first choice in the pivot role, it’s no surprise the second-string options aren’t quite as impressive as other positions.

Timothy Fosu-Mensah is extremely highly thought of by fans and is slowly earning some trust from Mourinho. At just 19, he’s an absolute powerhouse in the centre and is only getting better. Here, he is partnered in a two-man midfield by the hapless Marouane Fellaini. The Belgian may have improved on past seasons in 2016/17 but there’s little doubting he’s not quite up to scratch.

Attack

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 29: Anthony Martial of Manchester United competes with Sam Morsy of Wigan Athletic during the FA Cup fourth round match between Manchester United and Wigan Athletic at Old Trafford on January 29, 2017 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)

Lukaku’s acquisition will likely push Rashford out to the left wing meaning Anthony Martial will miss out. The 2015 Golden Boy is a brilliant second choice and spearheads this side. His performances in the latter part of the season reminded everyone how good he is and his versatility means his future has to lie at Old Trafford.

Behind him, Juan Mata can operate in his preferred number 10 role where he usually plays his best football. He can feel hard done by not to be in the starting team and if Henrikh Mkhitaryan can’t better his showings from late last term, the Spaniard’s consistency could see him claim a more regular role.

On the flanks, academy graduates Jesse Lingard and Andreas Pereira provide pace and creativity. The former may not be the favourite of fans on Twitter but is a decent squad player that can fill in where needed. Pereira enjoyed a very successful loan spell with Granada last season and returns hoping to break into the first team.

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