It may be a little early for Manchester United fans to think about pre-season. Yet there is a big reason why this one could be more exciting than most.
When there is an international tournament, domestic preparations are hindered by extended breaks for many stars. For a club like United, that leaves fringe players and youngsters to seize their chance alongside those not involved in major competitions.
Young hopefuls get their chance to impress – and sometimes do. But they are often forgotten once the new campaign kicks off.
United fans are all too familiar with the prospects whose only real chance came when the matches didn’t count. But this crop of hopefuls is different.
That is why this summer can be very exciting for United fans.
With so many first-team regulars involved in Euro 2020, and then resting up when their participation ends, United’s next generation should feature.
That means Shola Shoretire, Hannibal Mejbri, James Garner, Anthony Elanga and Amad Diallo can all stake a claim.
It could be argued that some of those should already be playing more regularly for United. And next season could well be the dawn of a new generation at Old Trafford.
The new fledglings
United have a rich history when it comes to blooding youth. But this batch of players is arguably the most exciting since Fergie’s famous fledglings.
Hannibal is a star-in-the-making, Amad is already making waves for club and country, and Shoretire will surely break through in 2021.
Garner is the heir apparent to Michael Carrick. And he should seize his chance to impress over the summer with a place in the match-day squad there for the taking.
Elanga showed on the final day what a talent he is, while the likes of Dillon Hoogewerf and Charlie McNeill could also get chances in pre-season.
It all adds up to a summer when United’s most exciting batch youngsters for many a year can shine, not just for a few warmup games, but in those that matter, too.