Three selection questions for Manchester United against Leeds

Manchester United are back in Premier League action this Sunday against bitter rivals Leeds.

For the first time this season, United have had a midweek without a game.

That means we should be fully refreshed ahead of the first league visit to Elland Road since their relegation in 2004.

Leeds will be well up for this game. They didn’t need any extra motivation to get one over on it but the Super League fiasco has provided it anyway.

That means Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has to get his team selection spot on and here is a look at three decisions for him to consider…

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Does Dan James come back in?

James was a shock inclusion in the side to face Leeds in December.

Solskjaer handed him a first league start since October and it paid off, as Leeds had no answer to his pace all game long.

There’s an extra dimension to James facing Leeds, as he came so close to signing for them in January 2019.

Solskjaer may elect to play James again here. He was deployed on the right of midfield in December and Leeds are currently playing Gianni Alioski at left-back – they need a new specialist in that position this summer.

The Welshman could do damage against Leeds once again if he gets the nod.

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Does Solskjaer risk Rashford?

This question is tied to the James one.

Perhaps Solskjaer could play the Welshman on the right and Paul Pogba from the left, handing Marcus Rashford the afternoon off to continue his injury recovery.

But Rashford’s searing pace could be a vital weapon as Leeds leave space in behind – and he has had a full week off now to rest up.

Pogba could play centrally but Scott McTominay, Fred and Bruno Fernandes outworked Leeds’ high-energy midfield at Old Trafford and that’s not really the Frenchman’s game.

Solskjaer has basically had to ask himself whether to push Rashford through the pain for most of the season and the answer has almost always been ‘yes’.

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Greenwood or Cavani?

If James starts on the right and Solskjaer chooses between Rashford and Pogba on the left, that leaves Mason Greenwood and Edinson Cavani to battle it out over the centre-forward spot.

Both have looked sharp recently, scoring in the 3-1 wins over Tottenham and Burnley.

Solskjaer seems keen to manage Cavani carefully and the Uruguyan came off the bench against the Clarets.

With both Europa League semi-final legs to come either side of a clash with Liverpool, perhaps Solskjaer will give the elder statesman another rest here.

Choosing between two on-form strikers is a luxury for any manager and in truth, not one Solskjaer has had for much of the season – due to injury as much as anything else.

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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.