Manchester United set off for pre-season tour later this week, with the first matches under new manager Erik ten Hag just days away.
Forget any players who don’t want to be there, this is a chance for United’s stars to shine and impress the new boss, and set their 2022/23 season off to a positive start.
United face Liverpool, Crystal Palace, Melbourne Victory and Aston Villa in matches in Thailand and Australia, before facing Atletico Madrid in Norway and Rayo Vallecano at Old Trafford.
There are a number of United players we are particularly excited to see on the tour. Here is a look at six players who we are looking forward to seeing…
Donny van de Beek
Now entering his third season at Manchester United, it feels like Donny van de Beek’s career at the club is just beginning this summer.
Now with a fresh start under the manager who helped him become a star at Ajax, Van de Beek could have a new lease of life.
It’s still not quite clear where Van de Beek fits into United’s team. Is he a back-up/rotational option with Bruno Fernandes and Christian Eriksen, or will he play a deeper midfield role?
Could he even be asked to play as an emergency striker? Or will it be a bit of all three? Erik ten Hag will have a plan for Van de Beek, and it should become a little clearer over the coming weeks.
Facundo Pellistri remains a mystery to Manchester United fans. He is good enough to be a starter for Uruguay, but his loan spells at Alaves were a failure. Some of that can be put on the Spanish club.
Pellistri stood out in pre-season last year for United, and he will be keen to do the same again. This time he might even earn himself a place in United’s squad.
United need players for the right-wing position, and its about time one of Pellistri or Amad were able to step up and contribute to the first team.
Another returning loanee, midfielder James Garner has paid his dues and is ready to fight for a first team spot. The tour won’t daunt him – he scored in Australia for United in 2019.
Places in United’s midfield are up for grabs and Garner could have a role to play. This is an opportunity for him to demonstrate his readiness, and try and find a position for himself.
Erik ten Hag could choose to utilise Garner as a midfielder who drops deep, goes box-to-box, or in an attacking role, and we will learn more about how the new boss sees him.
Along with Donny van de Beek, Garner will improve United’s midfield options, even before the new signings arrive.
We did not expect Anthony Martial to be a factor in pre-season 2022, let alone United’s top option, but here we are.
With the Frenchman currently United’s most senior forward, if Ronaldo does not go on tour, there is a clear role for Martial to play, and Erik ten Hag won’t discard him.
We might as well get behind Martial at this point, and hope Erik ten Hag can magic him back to the forward who scored 23 goals in 2019/20 – and not the player who has scored just nine club goals since.
A potential front three of Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial once seemed like an exciting option. Belatedly, it still could be.
Tyrell Malacia was announced as a Manchester United player this week, and he will give the club a valuable new option at the left-back position.
Malacia was nicknamed ‘Pitbull’ in the Netherlands due to his tenacious style of play, and his attacking and defensive qualities will shake-up the left-back position.
We all look forward to seeing what he can do, how he settles in, and whether he can displace Luke Shaw for the Premier League season opener.
Manchester United’s FA Youth Cup star returned to pre-season early to try and make an impression on Erik ten Hag, demonstrating a great attitude.
The 17-year-old will look to spring a surprise on tour and show he should be considered part of the first team squad for next season.
An extra attacking option would be useful, and if Ten Hag rates him highly, he won’t be afraid to select the teenager.