After more than a month, fans will finally get to see their beloved Manchester United back in competitive action. In about a week’s time, Manchester United will take to the field and face Burnley in their Round of 16 EFL Cup clash at Old Trafford.
However, the knockout fixture will bring along with it a myriad selection issues for new manager Erik ten Hag due to the ongoing World Cup at Qatar.
United’s first-choice defensive pairing of Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane will almost certainly miss the game due to their involvement in the final of the quadrennial showpiece.
United could be without big names for Burnley clash
Players who exited in the quarterfinal stage have been given a week’s leave before they rejoin practice, which is likely to be sometime next week.
The Dutchman had taken his squad to Spain in a bid to build up fitness and gauge his reserve options. His team played two friendlies — against Cadiz and Real Betis, losing both encounters.
As a final preparation ahead of Wednesday’s clash at Old Trafford, the Red Devils faced off against Everton at Carrington in a behind-closed-doors friendly.
Manchester United drew 1-1 with Everton in a behind-closed-doors friendly at Carrington on Wednesday.
Neither club is releasing details about the game.
— United View (@unitedviewtv) December 15, 2022
According to The Manchester Evening News, United drew 1-1 with Everton with the rest of the details not being divulged by either of the clubs.
Such was the secrecy associated with the game that “neither club is releasing details about the game, with the agreement that it would be played behind closed doors and without even club TV crews in attendance.”
But the report does mention a few interesting points from which certain clues can be deciphered.
Chance for youngsters to shine
United Under-21s lost to Bolton in the Papa Johns Trophy on Tuesday night, but defender Rhys Bennett and midfielder Kobbie Mainoo were conspicuous by their absence.
And MEN believe they might have been involved in the contest. Both played in Spain with Mainoo scoring in United’s loss to Cadiz while Bennett impressed against Betis.
Two first-team stars — Christian Eriksen and Facundo Pellistri have been training in Carrington since their team’s exit from the World Cup in the group stages.
And the duo likely took part as well. Pellistri might finally get a chance to make his debut for the club and show Ten Hag he deserves a place in the squad for the second half of the campaign.