Rangnick says Shaw will 'probably' start for United against Middlesbrough

Manchester United are set to return to action after a 13-day break since their last match.

Middlesbrough stand between Ralf Rangnick’s side and a place in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Friday night.

Rangnick has conducted his pre-match press conference on United’s official app at 2pm, and was asked what he expects from his full-backs.

The German gave some tactical detail and also said that Luke Shaw is likely to come back into his starting eleven after a period absent with injury.

Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images

“The full-backs have to be both defenders and at the same time give as much input as the possibly can if we’re in possession,” said Rangnick.

“They have to be offensive defenders and I think in the last couple of weeks we have improved in those areas. It will also be an important position in tomorrow’s game because Middlesbrough will play with a back five with very offensive wing-backs at times.

“It will be very important that our own full backs are on a very high tactical level. Also, I am happy with the development of the players in those positions.

“Luke will be back and he will probably play from the beginning because Alex Telles only came back last night and played for Brazil for 90 minutes. This is what I want to see – offensive full backs playing almost like wingers but also being modern defenders, winning duels.”

Photo by Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images

Telles and Diogo Dalot have established themselves as first choice under Rangnick, although Shaw and Aaron Wan-Bissaka have been missing lately.

Shaw may well get a chance to remind his manager what he can do here, given his most recent appearance was almost a month ago in the third round win over Aston Villa.

As Rangnick said, Boro’s wing back system could cause a tactical conundrum for Shaw, especially if he shows any signs of rustiness after his spell on the sidelines.

The England international has not been at his best this season, perhaps suffering a hangover from his European Championship excursions in the summer, and he will be looking to get his campaign back on track, starting tomorrow.

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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.