Manchester United Predicted XI against Wigan Athletic: Who will start in Mourinho's first game?

Jose Mourinho will be forced to name an unfamiliar looking side, with a mixture of new signings and youth players likely to be involved.

Manchester United Predicted XI against Wigan Athletic: Who will start in Mourinho's first game?
Mourinho has a plethora of players to choose from for Saturday's friendly. (Photo: John Peters/ Manchester United)

Manchester United will play their first pre-season friendly when they travel to face Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Boss Jose Mourinho started to work with his new players a few days ago and a host of those were seen at training on Wednesday

Plenty to think about for Mourinho

Although United are still waiting on 13 players to return from international duty, including losing finalists Anthony Martial from Euro 2016 and Sergio Romero and Marcos Rojo from the Copa America, Mourinho still has a large selection of players to choose from for the friendly match.

With Romero and David de Gea still recovering from their international endeavours, the Reds will likely start with either Sam Johnstone or Joel Castro Pereira in goal, although it would not be surprising if both were handed a chance to impress in each half of the match. Fellow under-21 ‘keeper Dean Henderson is also in contention after training on Wednesday.

New signings to start

Mourinho has already announced his intention to give Tyrell Warren and Axel Tuanzebe a chance against the Latics and the academy pair could start at right-back and centre-back respectively. They are likely to be joined by more experienced youngsters Eric Bailly – Mourinho’s first signing of the summer – and Luke Shaw at left-back, who has impressed many at United with his efforts to return from injury in prime condition for pre-season.

Mourinho alongside his new players on Wednesday | Photo: Matthew Peters/ Manchester United
Mourinho alongside his new players on Wednesday | Photo: Matthew Peters/ Manchester United

There should be a more familiar picture in midfield, with Michael Carrick available after being overlooked for England’s Euro 2016 squad, and he could be partnered by Spaniard Ander Herrera. There aren’t many options in midfield for Mourinho, though, with Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin and Marouane Fellaini yet to return from their international commitments, although the Portuguese coach might be tempted to hand Dutch pair Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Daley Blind a chance in the role – despite both being mainly deployed in defence last season.

In the attacking trio of Mourinho’s 4-2-3-1 system, new signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan could start alongside Jesse Lingard who, like Shaw, has put extra work in to be ready for his new manager's arrival – something which can only have impressed the Portuguese. Meanwhile, Memphis Depay may be given the opportunity to showcase his talent again after his underwhelming debut campaign.

Completing Mourinho’s first XI is likely to be James Wilson, with none of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Anthony Martial, Wayne Rooney or Marcus Rashford available, whilst fellow youth product Ashley Fletcher has just moved to West Ham.

Other senior players available for the match include Phil Jones, Juan Mata, Adnan Januzaj, Ashley Young and Andreas Pereira and, whilst all five should be involved at some stage – their possible absence from the starting team emphasises the huge size of United’s current first team squad.

Predicted XI: Johnstone; Warren, Bailly, Tuanzebe, Shaw; Carrick, Herrera; Lingard, Mkhitaryan, Memphis; Wilson.