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Strongest line-up yet – Predicted Manchester United XI to face Real Madrid (pre-season)



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Credit: IMAGO / Pacific Press Agency

Manchester United may go with their strongest line-up yet as they face Real Madrid in pre-season.

So far this summer, Erik ten Hag has mostly been playing 45 minutes of a first-string XI in the opening three games of pre-season, before fielding a weaker youth XI in the second half.

Manchester United played Wrexham in the early hours of Wednesday morning with a side comprised almost entirely of youth players, with the exception of Jonny Evans at centre-back. This hints that the starting XI may play a full 90 minutes against Real Madrid on Thursday morning.

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With the fixture set to kick off at 01:30 BST on Thursday, it may well be the first time André Onana steps in goal for United after signing for the club and joining them on the US tour last week.

With a strong XI expected, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who has impressed Ten Hag and played the most minutes out of him and Diogo Dalot, will likely start at right-back – he could potentially be replaced at 60 minutes for Dalot in order for both to increase fitness levels.

The central defensive pair will almost certainly consist of Raphaël Varane and Lisandro Martínez, with Luke Shaw rounding off the back four at left-back.

Against Real Madrid, United fans could also see another first – Mason Mount, Casemiro, and Bruno Fernandes could all start together for the first time. This trio is expected to be Ten Hag’s preferred midfield three during the 2023/24 season, so the tie represents the perfect chance for the three players to practice playing together.

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It should, however, be expected that Bruno Fernandes and Casemiro may be replaced as the game progresses, as both players have only played 45 minutes of football so far this summer and will need to build their fitness.

Up front is where selection gets a bit tricky. Ten Hag has deployed Jadon Sancho as a false-nine on multiple occasions so far this pre-season, with the player performing well and scoring against Arsenal – he may well start there again.

On the left wing, Marcus Rashford may resume his normal position as Ten Hag will no doubt want the England international to warm up to the left side again, especially if the club succeed in bringing in Rasmus Højlund as a striker this summer.

Both Antony and Amad have played at right-wing so far in pre-season, but with Amad suffering an ankle problem against Arsenal, it’s likely that Antony will start on the right-hand side.

Full Manchester United predicted XI:

Onana; Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Martínez, Shaw; Casemiro, Mount, Fernandes; Antony, Sancho, Rashford.