Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has taken a very youthful squad to Kazakhstan for the Europa League dead rubber against Astana.
But he has already confirmed that one experienced head will get a rare appearance – Lee Grant, as reports PA journalist Simon Peach.
It will be Grant’s first start for the club but young stopper Matej Kovar should have got the nod ahead of him between the sticks.
What will Grant gain from the game?
Lee Grant isn’t going to improve much at this stage of his career.
He is essentially at Old Trafford as a backup in case of severe injury crisis, as well as filling the homegrown quota ironically in place to create a pathway for young English talent. Not ageing journeyman goalkeepers.
If it gets to the point where Solskjaer is without David de Gea and Sergio Romero, the fact that Grant has a solitary game for United under his belt won’t make the situation much less worrying.
Giving him a game is essentially a reward for being a diligent pro in the face of competition from two elite stoppers, but Kovar could have used the experience much more.
We need to see what Kovar can do
Manchester United have some serious goalkeeping talent on their books behind de Gea and Romero.
Dean Henderson is excelling on loan at Sheffield United, Kieran O’Hara made his senior international debut this month and Joel Pereira is also promising.
Kovar already faces an uphill battle to establish himself at Old Trafford and needs as many chances as he can get to prove what he can do.
He has been excellent for the under-23s this season and performed very well in the EFL Trophy games against senior teams, conceding only one goal in three games.
Solskjaer won’t learn anything about Grant tomorrow afternoon, but he would have been able to learn more about how Kovar deals with pressure, the demands of men’s football at an even higher level.
On a night where Solskjaer looks set to put his faith in youth, he’s making the wrong call putting an elder statesman between the sticks.
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