Victor Lindelof has a big part to play this season despite opening day snub
Manchester United defender Victor Lindelof was the high profile name to miss out on the matchday squad against Brighton.
Even with nine substitutes named, there was no room on the bench for Lindelof, or teammate Eric Bailly.
Captain Harry Maguire got the nod alongside new signing Lisandro Martinez, with Raphael Varane starting on the bench.
No doubt this will lead to speculation over the Swedish defender’s future, with clubs even enquiring with United over his availability. Expect the Red Devils to shut this down swiftly.
Lindelof has a big part to play
Victor Lindelof has a big part to play at Manchester United this season and his opening day snub should not change this.
With so many attacking players among the substitutes, there were only so many spots for defensive players on the bench in this type of home fixture, it was deemed Lindelof would not be required.
This won’t be the case all season. Manchester United will need four centre-backs once the Europa League campaign gets underway.
Playing Thursdays and Sundays will put a massive strain on the squad and Raphael Varane in particular has shown in his first season at the club that his fitness can’t be relied upon.
Lindelof will be needed, and so potentially could Eric Bailly if injuries hit. Erik ten Hag has to decide whether to keep the Ivorian as a fifth choice defender as extra insurance, or cash in if an offer presents itself.
United paid £31 million for Lindelof back in 2017, and while he has been a regular for the club since, it has not been a succesful period for the club.
Moves for Varane and Martinez have added to the competition for places, and Lindelof looks set to have a role as a squad player this season.
One area he could be particularly useful is either side of the World Cup. While Maguire, Martinez and Varane are all heading to the tournament, Sweden did not qualify.
This means Lindelof will be rested up through the winter and will be fresh when the Premier League resumes in late December. So too will Eric Bailly if he stays.
The season may not have started how he wanted it to, but Lindelof has a big part to play in 2022/23. He just has to rise to the challenge and step up when called upon.