Manchester United’s opening day thrashing of Chelsea was also a harsh reality check for the players not involved.
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer warned before the game that he would make his intentions clear with his choices.
He was quoted by The Telegraph: “It’s not about who we don’t want here, it’s about who we want here and you’re going to see that in the team selections and who’s with us in the long run.”
There are five notable players who were not even named on the bench, showing they have an uphill battle to convince Solskjaer.
Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelöf seem the clear first choice partnership, and rightly so.
Axel Tuanzebe is next in the pecking order, named as the only centre-back on the bench.
This left Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Marcos Rojo failing to even make the squad.
All three featured in pre-season but are now left battling to be fourth choice, and that’s only because Eric Bailly is injured.
Rotation will see some of them get games at varying points, but their United careers are on all on the last legs.
Mourinho’s last buys
Both Fred and Diogo Dalot have futures at United, but they are not at the forefront of Solskjaer’s plans.
Neither player made the bench, with Nemanja Matic preferred to Fred and Ashley Young rather than Dalot.
Both of these are questionable choices, but underline how much work each of them have to do to make United’s team.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka has pushed Dalot down the pecking order, and the young Portuguese talent needs to do more to ensure he is first choice back-up at right-back and for Luke Shaw too.
Fred’s absence was not surprising after a disappointing pre-season, and its clear he has some catching up to do.
The reality check of failing to make the bench shows both players need to turn their fortunes around.
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