Saturday, July 4

How Manchester United could line up for their first game back

:Headline: How Manchester United could line up for their first game back: ID:401137: from db_amp
Sports Mole looks at how Manchester United could line up for their first game back after lockdown, with Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford among those now in contention.

Premier League football will resume in June after a hiatus of more than three months caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

Manchester United will be hoping to pick up where they left off before the break, when they were on an 11-match unbeaten run across all competitions.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side face a trip to Tottenham Hotspur in their first game back on the weekend of June 19-21, knowing that victory could see them climb into the top four should results also go their way elsewhere.

Here, Sports Mole takes a look at how the Red Devils could line up for their first game back.

Out: None
Doubtful: Lee Grant (unspecified), Diogo Dalot (unspecified), Paul Pogba (ankle), Marcus Rashford (foot)

While the coronavirus-enforced stoppage came at a bad time in terms of United's form and momentum, it has given them the opportunity to ease a couple of key players back to fitness.

Paul Pogba, who has been limited to only seven Premier League appearances all season, is one of those back in full training, having been closing in on a return just as football was called to a halt.

The Frenchman's future continues to be the subject of much speculation, but he is expected to be available for a first outing since Boxing Day, and notably his first match playing alongside the newest fan favourite Bruno Fernandes.

Marcus Rashford is also in full training again after recovering from a back injury which at one stage looked as though it might rule him out for the remainder of the season, and his return is a huge boost to United's hopes of finishing in the top four.

Rashford is expected to go straight into the starting lineup, making it a full-strength XI for Solskjaer ahead of the trip to North London.

Fernandes will hope to pick up where he left off after his bright start to life at the club was curtailed by coronavirus, with the Premier League's February player of the month looking to add to his seven goal involvements from nine games so far.

Odion Ighalo has now extended his loan stay until the end of January but remains behind Anthony Martial in the centre-forward pecking order, while the right-wing spot is between Daniel James, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata and Andreas Pereira - all of whom will be particularly keen to impress amid United's reported interest in Jadon Sancho.

With Pogba likely to start, Solskjaer must make a decision regarding who to partner him with in the middle of the park, and Fred's impressive form this season appears to have lifted him above Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay in the pecking order for now.

The first-choice back five appears to be settled, with the possible exception being left-back, where Luke Shaw and Brandon Williams have regularly traded position this season.

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