Manchester United could confirm a new first teamer vs Brighton
Williams’ chance to attain first-team status
It is 78 days since Luke Shaw last appeared for Manchester United and by virtue of another lengthy absence he cannot be regarded as a true first-teamer.
Many United supporters despair at Ashley Young’s continued selection at left-back yet the 34-year-old’s athleticism puts Shaw, 10 years his junior, to shame and he is still an auxiliary full-back, however long he has played there.
Brandon Williams, 19, is a specialist and arguably jumped to the front of the queue of the teenagers who have broken into the United first-team squad. His importance is such Williams was unused in the win over Partizan Belgrade with Brighton in mind.
Young is suspended and it would be harsh on Williams if he were to be denied a full league debut having impressed in the Europa League and League Cup.
Do McTominay and Lindelof return?
Victor Lindelof’s regression has been so sharp the prospect of his absence against Brighton should not be regarded as too significant. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer waxed lyrical about Marcos Rojo in the week and the Argentinian would replace the Swede if he fails to recover from a foot injury.
Scott McTominay would be a greater loss, as much due to the midfield malaise as his own modest merits. An XI consisting of two full debutants in the league would maybe be too extreme and Andreas Pereira might drop back into central midfield.
Or would Solskjaer risk Garner?
James Garner emerged for his home debut against Partizan and a first league start three days later would end a whirlwind week. Brighton have won three of their last four in the league and the only defeat was when they were reduced to 10 men at Aston Villa and it would be risky to overload the United side with callow talents.
Greenwood to start?
Were Mason Greenwood to get the nod then it would not technically be his first league start but his maiden meaningful start. Greenwood’s sole selection in a league XI was in the final match of 2018-19 against Cardiff and he is overdue a chance at Premier League level in his first full campaign.
Solskjaer said: ‘I rested Dan [James] tonight because he’s played too much football for my liking’ and that would suggest the undroppable Welshman will come back in. Juan Mata thrived as the playmaker in the Partizan stroll, so Greenwood’s wait may extend beyond the November internationals.
Rashford’s form to continue?
Amid United’s impotence and his own careworn spell of form, Marcus Rashford has averaged more than a goal every other start for club and country. Rashford has six in his last six starts and the clichéd great scorer of goals has been a great goalscorer over the last month.
He has nine in 16 starts this term and perceptions have changed so drastically plenty of United fans would rather have had Rashford take the free-kicks Young and Fred hit against Partizan.
The Thursday night win was also a reminder of Rashford’s rashness. He snatched at nearly half-a-dozen chances and has had two penalties saved in the league already. He should maybe have already surpassed his club season-best tally of 13.
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