Manchester United played a behind closed doors friendly match against Stoke City on Wednesday.
United’s starting XI, according to The Mail, was: Tom Heaton, Diogo Dalot, Phil Jones, Teden Mengi, Alvaro Fernandez, Nemanja Matic, Donny Van de Beek, Edinson Cavani, Hannibal, Juan Mata, Mason Greenwood.
The team was a real mix of players not on international duty for various reasons.
Nemanja Matic has retired from internationals, Edinson Cavani was blocked from going to Uruguay, and Mason Greenwood, Diogo Dalot and Donny van de Beek were left out of their respective sides.
It was a great chance to mix in the younger players with the first team for them to gain experience. Here is a look at the young players who featured as well as those called up to training.
Teden Mengi was really unlucky not to head out on loan after a spell with Derby County last season.
Mengi started three pre-season games for United. The 19-year-old centre-back is a highly rated prospect and a loan in January is very possible.
He made his first team appearance against LASK in 2020. His first team chances are limited as he would have to dislodge Phil Jones just to become fifth choice.
Spanish talent Alvaro Fernandez is an outstanding prospect at under-23 level.
In three matches this season he has scored two goals and provided one assist.
The 18-year-old joined United from Real Madrid and while he needs to work on the defensive side of his game, he is a very good left-back prospect who could eventually push Alex Telles and Brandon Williams out.
Hannibal has a real shot to break into Manchester United’s first team this season.
The teenager could be a long term successor to Paul Pogba, able to play attacking role on the left side or a deeper lying midfield position.
Hannibal could take advantage of United’s lack of current midfield options to eventually get his chance. He is a strong passer and dribbler who has really high potential.
Also in training…
A further five young players have been called into Manchester United’s training sessions this week along with the three who featured as starters in the friendly.
Midfielder Zidane Iqbal has just stepped up to Manchester United’s under-23s this season.
Iqbal is an attacking midfielder who scored six times for the 18s last season despite missing several months with injury.
Charlie McNeill has scored two goals for Manchester United’s under-23s so far this season.
This follows a tally of 25 goals for the under-18s in 2020/21 after choosing to move to United from rivals City.
Promising strike Joe Hugill featured for United’s first team in pre-season and now he is getting a chance to learn from Edinson Cavani for the first time.
This will be a great experience for he and Charlie McNeill to watch the Uruguayan close up.
Young prospect Charlie Wellens has been playing at right-back for the under-23s over the past few weeks.
Wellens has been making the most of it as he has provided two assists in the opening three games.
Dutch defender Bjorn Hardley has stepped up for the under-23s after captaining the under-18s at times last season.
Hardley has had a mixed time so far, managing to score in the EFL Trophy defeat to Lincoln City a week ago.
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