Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been deliberately cautious with his use of young players this season.
He has given opportunities to Tahith Chong, Mason Greenwood, Angel Gomes, Brandon Williams and James Garner already, and more are likely to follow.
But he hasn’t gone over the top, with the young players largely restricted to midweek action or brief substitute appearances. Mason Greenwood for instance hasn’t started a Premier League game yet this season and has 113 minutes in the competition across eight substitute showings.
Circumstances dictate this could change this weekend with three young players.
Williams, Garner and Greenwood
Brandon Williams is locked in to make his first Premier League start at home to Brighton on Sunday.
Ashley Young is suspended and Luke Shaw injured and 19-year-old Williams was rested on Thursday with this game in mind.
He’s earned it, with impressive starts in the Carabao Cup and Europa League to his name already.
James Garner has proved himself to be a dependable option in midfield too.
He has now played 120 minutes in two matches against Partizan and he might now be needed to face Brighton after Scott McTominay’s injury.
Solskjaer told United’s website after the game that McTominay is a ‘concern’ and he has to wait to see if the Scot will be available.
Garner is an option to step in with Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba out with injury.
In attack you would assume Dan James comes back in for Mason Greenwood, but it should not be taken as a certainty.
United’s attack was too hot for Partizan to handle with Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood up front. There has to be a temptation to replicate that in the Premier League too.
James could be used as an impact substitute and United could ask the trio of strikers to continue where they left off on Thursday night.
Rating their chances
There is a legitimate case for United to start all three, but Solskjaer may opt for caution.
Brandon Williams is a different case. He is 100 per cent to start against Brighton.
Garner we would rate at 33 per cent. Scott McTominay could return, and Andreas Pereira may be asked to drop into a deeper role alongside Fred.
We would say Greenwood has around a 25 per cent chance to start with Dan James more likely.
Thursday night showed what can happen when Solskjaer decides to be bold.
There was a positive result a week ago when he went for it against Chelsea too.
Perhaps the lesson there is that the United boss needs to be more attacking and gung ho in his team selections. In that case, lets see Williams, Garner and Greenwood all starting if Scott McTominay is not passed fit.
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