Manchester United vs Club America Preview: Reds begin pre-season action in Arizona

Manchester United vs Club America Preview: Reds begin pre-season action in Arizona

United have travelled to the States to prepare for the new season.

Shoaib Khan

With the Premier League season kicking off in just over three weeks, Manchester United begin their preparation with an early morning friendly against Mexican side Club America.

At the University of Phoneix Stadium in Arizona, it's the first opportunity for Jose Mourinho to examine his players ahead of a crucial season for the Portuguese.

Building fitness ahead of the new season

Pre-season fixtures are designed to establish match fitness for players after summer breaks and allow the manager to assess any queries within his team.

With so many regular first-team players unavailable for the preparation following the World Cup, it's a chance for the fringe players and youth of the club to impress the manager and earn minutes in competitive games further down the line.

Club America, having already begun the new season with two friendlies, will provide opposition to United and although they may be sharper after two friendlies already, their quality should be no match for the side Mourinho decides to put out.

New-look attack?

With Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez two of those not with the team in the USA, Mourinho has the opportunity to study his remaining options. Anthony Martial and Juan Mata remain the only senior attackers in the squad, meaning there is likely to be an opportunity for a new face as part of the forwards.

Depending on if Mourinho deploys a 4-3-3, Tahith Chong could take up the opposite flank to Mata to support Martial as the main striker. The flexibility of the attackers means we could also see a 4-2-3-1 used as the system, in which case an attacking midfielder such as Angel Gomes can take up space behind the striker.


Shaw desperate to impress?

Luke Shaw recently spoke of his desire to become "one of the first names on the team-sheet" during the upcoming season, having been understudy to Ashley Young under Mourinho.

Shaw insists he is in the mood to do everything he can to fulfill that ambition during pre-season, saying, "It’s time for me to show him over the next few weeks in particular what I can do and why I deserve to be in his team.”

It's certainly a position up for grabs, with Young having just turned 33, and the obvious problems that come with playing week-in-week-out at that age. Shaw, ten years his junior, has struggled for fitness himself but is taking full advantage of the preparation whilst Young remains on holiday, saying, "I’m training hard and when the games come around – the next five are all about fitness, I want to try to prove to the manager that I can be in his team."


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