Manchester United can now reflect on a busy 2023 pre-season which packed in eight matches in five different countries.

Fans in Norway, Scotland, USA, England and Ireland got to see Manchester United in action, with the Red Devils recording four wins, three losses and one draw.

Attention is now turning to Manchester United’s first Premier League game, to take place on August 14 at home to Wolves.

Before then, let’s take a look at the winners and losers from the Red Devils’ 2023 pre-season campaign…

Arsenal F.C. v Manchester United
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Winners from pre-season

Kobbie Mainoo: An injury to Kobbie Mainoo was an obvious negative, however, the 18-year-old showed enough to demonstrate why Erik ten Hag is excited about his potential.

Mainoo started United’s first four matches including the games against Arsenal and Real Madrid. His performance against Arsenal was the standout, demonstrating an ability to compete and change games.

It could be a few weeks until Mainoo returns, when he does, he has guaranteed he will be part of Erik ten Hag’s plans.

The young midfielder has a real part to play in United’s future. His injury just determines there will be a little patience required, and in terms of slowing the hype which was building, it may work in his favour.

Antony: Manchester United’s talented Brazilian winger has a point to prove heading into his second season when United will be looking for him to become more productive.

His contribution in the win over Lens was a great sign, a well taken goal and a sumptuous assist for Marcus Rashford to score. With a goal also in the match against Dortmund, Antony is bubbling into form nicely ahead of the season opener.

He edges Jadon Sancho onto this list, who has also been bright, however, it is the South American who started against Lens while Sancho was starting with the second string in Dublin, which suggests he has still not worked his way into the starting line-up.

With Amad also picking up an injury, Antony has lost some competition for his place. Erik ten Hag will be relying on him more than ever.

Omari Forson: Omari Forson has turned out to be one of the surprise winners from Manchester United’s pre-season campaign, selected to play in six out of the eight matches.

While his contribution lacked a goal like Noam Emeran, his overall contribution was more regular and his involvement in the final Old Trafford friendly at Old Trafford, as one of just two substitutes, was a real vote of confidence from Erik ten Hag.

The manager has clearly seen potential in the 19-year-old and has tried to offer him as many chances as he can afford. Whether this will build into first team opportunities this season is unclear, but Forson will be far better off for his busy summer.

Manchester United v Athletic Bilbao - Pre-Season Friendly
Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Losers from pre-season

Amad: Young playmaker Amad entered pre-season with high hopes after a superb loan at Sunderland in 2022/23.

It began promisingly with lively 45 minute contributions against Leeds and Lyon, before disaster struck with an injury against Arsenal.

No return date has been placed on Amad, with it likely to be weeks or months before he is fit to return. While this will delay, rather than prevent his breakthrough, his position in the squad is still very unclear.

Amad might face a race to be fit for January, before having to settle for another loan. It could easily be another season where he does not play another minute for Manchester United.

On the other hand, an early return could allow Amad to integrate himself into Ten Hag’s plans. But that is yet to be determined, and he won’t feel he showed enough during his limited pre-season appearances to feel assured that he will get opportunities.

Harry Maguire: It has been a chastening few weeks for Harry Maguire, who was stripped of the Manchester United captaincy before a ball was kicked.

He has since had to watch the armband be passed around, with Tom Heaton given the honour against Athletic Bilbao instead of him.

In terms of performance, Maguire has been sloppy, making mistakes and looking like a player devoid of confidence. Taking the armband away was supposed to relieve some pressure on him, but it hasn’t worked out like that.

The England centre-back is in real need of a move away from the club at this point, so he can have a fresh start elsewhere.

Fred: A starter in the FA Cup final, Fred has had a pretty rapid fall from grace. He played just one pre-season game, filling in because United needed the numbers against Lyon.

He was left off the club’s pre-season tour, and the emergence of Kobbie Mainoo has highlighted that United have some real quality waiting to break through, and that Fred simply is not needed.

Being omitted from squads for the final two matches highlighted he has no future at the club, and it is even claimed his shirt number could be assigned to new signing Rasmus Hojlund.

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