MANCHESTER UNITED may make alterations in the Europa League.
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag may make changes in the Europa League after finding a stable squad that has won the Red Devils’ last four games. Starting with Real Sociedad’s visit on Thursday, the competition might be a platform for the Dutch coach to experiment with his roster and give opportunities to peripheral players. Express Sport has looked at five players who could be given a chance to shine against Spain.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has been left out of United’s previous four games, all of which the Red Devils have won, and although Ronaldo has come off the bench each time, his contribution has been negligible. Ten Hag has emphasized on multiple occasions that the Portuguese striker still requires match fitness, and a start in the Europa League could provide the ideal opportunity.
United will be trying to get off to a solid start in Europe, and Ronaldo has an excellent record in European games; he is the Champions League’s all-time best scorer with 140 goals, and will be expecting to continue scoring in Europe. The forward appeared twice in the previous incarnation of the competition, both times in Sporting Lisbon’s 6-4 aggregate defeat to Partizan in the 2002/03 UEFA Cup first round.
Mr. Harry Maguire
Maguire, like Ronaldo, has fallen out of favor as Ten Hag has preferred to utilize Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane at the center of his defense. The England center-back came on as a substitute in the 3-1 win over Arsenal and will be hoping to get back into the team.
A solid performance against Real Sociedad might pave the way for Maguire to return to the team, as the 29-year-old will require regular playing time this season to preserve his place in Gareth Southgate’s squad ahead of the World Cup this winter.
The Swedish winger started the first three games of United’s four-game winning streak, but was benched and had to watch from the stands as new £85 million signing Antony scored on his debut.
Elanga might get the nod as he attempts to show Ten Hag that, despite his Brazilian competitor being a preferred option having played under the manager at Ajax, he is fighting for a spot in the team.
Shaw has had a terrible post-European Championships period at United, going from a starter in the final under Southgate to the squad’s periphery, and the left-back has also lost his club position to Tyrell Malacia. Shaw will be looking to demonstrate his health and quality in the Europa League this season, as he hopes to be named to England’s World Cup team later this year.
The Slovakian goalkeeper, who joined United on transfer deadline day from Newcastle, might become United’s favorite option in cup competitions this season as he attempts to unseat David De Gea. The Spaniard’s distribution has been criticized this season, prompting Ten Hag to adjust his tactics and the goalie to play more directly.
Ten Hag has proven that he is not hesitant to remove big-name players, and if Dubravka can impress in Europe, particularly with the ball at his feet, he may be able to challenge De Gea for the starting spot in the future.