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Manchester United have four selection dilemmas vs Crystal Palace

Manchester Evening News logo Manchester Evening News 6 days ago Liam Corless

Goalkeeper

Gary Neville expects David de Gea to start ahead of Dean Henderson this weekend and it would be a bold call from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop the Spaniard to the bench, despite his patchy form towards the end of last season.

De Gea was culpable for goals against Watford, Everton, Tottenham and Chelsea last term, with his performance in the FA Cup semi-final in particular scrutinised following Solskjaer's decision to start him ahead of regular cup goalkeeper Sergio Romero. Romero, incidentally, is the only senior United player yet to report back to Carrington for pre-season.

The Argentine's first-team chances are set to be restricted further this term following Henderson's return from Sheffield United. Henderson's stock has risen dramatically over the previous two seasons and he signalled his intent to challenge De Gea for the No.1 spot at United by signing a long-term contract at Old Trafford at the end of August.

The 23-year-old acquitted himself well in United's friendly defeat by Aston Villa last Saturday but the chances are he will have to wait until next week's Carabao Cup game against either Reading or Luton Town to make his competitive bow.

Maguire's partner

Fitness permitting, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Luke Shaw and Harry Maguire will all start in United's defence, with the only question mark at the back over who partners Maguire.

Victor Lindelof is the obvious front-runner and will probably get the nod on account of there being no obvious alternatives. The Swede regressed last season after an encouraging 2018-19 campaign, but his biggest challenger is Eric Bailly and he can be erratic. Axel Tuanzebe is still not ready to play after ankle surgery, while it would be bold for Solskjaer to hand Teden Mengi his Premier League debut in a season opener.

Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo are all up for sale.

Midfield composition

A lot will depend on who is ready to play on Saturday and several United players only returned to Carrington this week, Bruno Fernandes, Fred and Nemanja Matic included.

Solskjaer confirmed Paul Pogba is a doubt to face Palace after missing France's recent Nations League double-header following a positive coronavirus test.

Donny van de Beek was a class act against Aston Villa and should start, while Scott McTominay excelled alongside the Dutchman in the first half before being withdrawn at the pause. If Pogba is unavailable, that axis could be on show again.

Although Fernandes hasn't been back in Manchester long following the birth of his second child in Portugal, it will be a surprise if he doesn't start.

Right-wing choice

Mason Greenwood excelled post-lockdown and on football ability alone, he should play, but there is an argument to be made that he should be taken out of the spotlight after undeniably the most disappointing week in his fledgling career.

Greenwood was sent home from England duty after breaching Covid-19 protocols in Iceland last week before just days later issuing an apology following the emergence of footage which showed him inhaling laughing gas.

Daniel James was bright against Aston Villa and might be the more sensible selection on the the right flank.


Gallery: Does Henderson start? Does Minamino get the nod? Liverpool's predicted XI for the clash with Leeds (Read Sport)

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