Manchester United’s academy stars will be hoping that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gives them numerous opportunities to impress throughout the Europa League campaign.
The Red Devils have named their Europa League squad and there were no notable omissions. Solskjaer has added 19-year-old Czech goalkeeper Matej Kovar to the squad.
The squad submission is broken down into three groups with the A-list, the list of club-trained players and those players trained by each countries association.
Homegrown players under the age of 21 don’t have to be included for them to play, and clubs can use an unlimited number of youngsters they have developed themselves in the competition.
United fans can breath a huge sigh of relief that the absence of Mason Greenwood, Angel Gomes, Tahith Chong and James Garner doesn’t mean the quartet cannot play. Like many others in the United academy, such as Dylan Levitt and Brandon Williams, they can be used at any stage
The Reds were drawn in Group L, alongside Astana, AZ Alkmaar and Partizan Belgrade, Solskjaer’s men kick off their campaign with a home tie against Astana on Thursday 19th September at 8pm.
United lifted the trophy in the 2016/17 campaign to secure a return into the Champions League, but Jose Mourinho was left with no choice but to prioritise the competition after his sides woeful league form left them helpless in their pursuit of a top four finish.
Solskjaer has shown a clear willingness to trust his young players after a wealth of experienced players left Old Trafford this summer.
The Europa League group stages present the Norwegian with a perfect opportunity to blood some of the academies promising prospects into first team football.
Here is one way the team could line up…
Axel Tuanzebe will be hoping to take full advantage of Victor Lindelöf’s indifferent form and give Solskjaer a selection headache with a run of commanding performances.
United fans will be hoping that Williams gets the opportunity to impress ahead of the likes of Ashley Young and Marcos Rojo in the absence of Luke Shaw.
The talented quadrant of Garner, Gomes, Chong and Greenwood should spearhead Solskjaer’s burgeoning youngsters.
Senior players Sergio Romero, Diego Dalot, Phil Jones and Fred should be given vital playing time and provide important experience to aid the youngsters.
However, if United’s league position does falter and unravel similar to what happened under Mourinho, the clubs academy prospects may have to make way for the bigger names as Solskjaer may be left with no choice but to put all of his eggs in the Europa League basket.
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