De Roon looking forward to 'indescribable' feeling of playing at Old Trafford

Manchester United will take on Atalanta for the first time ever when they clash in the Champions League tonight

One member of their squad, Marten de Roon, has played at Old Trafford before though.

De Roon was part of the Middlesbrough side which lost 2-1 at the Theatre of Dreams on New Year’s Eve in 2016.

Grant Leadbitter put the visitors ahead before goals from Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba sealed a win, during Jose Mourinho’s reign.

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De Roon is looking forward to experiencing that atmosphere again if selected tonight.

As per TMW, de Roon told a press conference ahead of the game, “I am fine and in shape, I really want to play. I’m pretty good.

“I played four years ago here at Old Trafford, playing in front of 75,000 people is an indescribable emotion.”

United’s performances have not done much to inspire the fans in recent home games but they need a raucous atmosphere behind them tonight.

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‘Phenomenal’ de Roon

De Roon also faced United in March 2017 and was on the losing side as Boro were beaten 3-1, by goals from Marouane Fellaini, Antonio Valencia and Jesse Lingard.

After that game, then United boss Mourinho was quoted by The Sun saying: “This kid De Roon is phenomenal, his work-rate is phenomenal, they’re solid and they play direct.

“We had to fight it, and I have to admit, it was hard for us.”

Almost inevitably, transfer links to United followed, with The Mirror claiming Mourinho was plotting a £10 million move for the central midfielder.

Tonight, de Roon’s ‘phenomenal’ work-rate will be crucial to Atalanta’s hopes of grabbing a crucial win at Old Trafford.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.