By Mark Weasley
A fixture of two of Europe’s most successful teams plays out in the United States leg of the International Champions Cup, s Manchester United and AC Milan face off on Saturday at the famous Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.
The clash, which used to be a recurrent fixture in the latter stages of the Champions League some years back, has become a less prestigious game given that AC Milan have struggled to reach the heights of the mid 2000s; and let’s face it, we’ve not been at the peak of our powers ourselves despite heavy investment.
However, fans at the beautiful Rose Bowl will get to see a number of quality players with points to prove to their managers.
United have played two games in pre-season so far, both being boring draws against Club America and San Jose Earthquakes, with Jose Mourinho without a number of his first team players who are still on holidays following their World Cup exploits.
Sergio Romero is fit again after an injury spell as the club number 2 will be expected to be in goal, taking the place of Lee Grant who has played in the last two games.
At right-back, Antonio Valencia is out for the game after picking up a slight knock in the last match. Dutch defender, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, who was on loan at Crystal Palace last year will be expected to feature. At left-back, the resurgent Luke Shaw will be hoping to impress his manager.
The former Southampton man is looking as fit as ever and has worked on himself in the close season. In central defence, Eric Bailly and Chris Smalling will be looking to repel the AC Milan attack; the latter could be fighting for his United future.
Axel Tuanzebe is one player that Jose Mourinho rates highly and should feature in the anchor man position. Alongside him should be Brazilian, Andreas Pereira, who has impressed his manager with his attitude. The creative player has stated that he will play anywhere the manager wants, and has expressed his desire to stay at Old Trafford in the forthcoming season rather than going out on loan. Young Scottish midfielder, Scott McTominay should form the last part of that midfield triumvirate.
Young Portuguese player, Angel Gomes who is a box of tricks is expected to feature on the left wing. Juan Mata will hope to continue his impressive form in pre-season and will play from the right. Upfront, Chilean superstar, Alexis Sanchez should get to feature while Anthony Martial should be content with a place on the bench; he certainly didn’t cover himself in glory against San Jose Earthquakes last time out.
Probable lineup: Romero, Fosu-Mensah, Bailly, Smalling, Shaw, Pereira, Tuanzebe, McTominay, Mata, Gomes, Sanchez