Sunday 22 April 2018

Five pre-season headaches for Manchester United

Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney (C) reacts after missing a goal against Paris Saint-Germain
Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney (C) reacts after missing a goal against Paris Saint-Germain

Mark Ogden

De Gea's focus, replacing Di Maria, defensive weaknesses, Rooney's form and Schweinsteiger's fitness will all be concerning the manager.

De Gea form/focus:

Louis van Gaal described David de Gea’s situation as ‘not favourable,’ with the goalkeeper appearing distracted by his failure to secure a move to Real Madrid. But with Victor Valdes and Anders Lindegaard surplus to requirements, Sam Johnstone due to move to Preston and Sergio Romero untested, Van Gaal must find a way to get De Gea’s mind back on the job.

David De Gea

Di Maria distraction:

Angel di Maria’s imminent move to PSG has been an ongoing distraction, with the winger failing to link-up with United on tour as planned. A swift resolution, and quality replacement, is required to draw a line under a messy affair.

Angel Di Maria had a disappointing first year at Old Trafford and could now leave

Defensive uncertainty remains:

United wanted a commanding centre-half this summer but Mats Hummels and Sergio Ramos have not arrived, prompting Van Gaal to deploy Daley Blind in that position. Marcos Rojo’s failure to renew his passport has not helped matters, forcing the defender to remain stranded in Argentina.

Jul 29, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Paris Saint-Germain forward Jean-Kevin Augustin (29) kicks the ball against Manchester United midfielder Daley Blind (17) during the first half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Rooney needs to prove he can deliver the goals:

Having offloaded Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao, Van Gaal has claimed that Wayne Rooney will spearhead United’s strike-force, but the 29-year-old scored just once in four games on tour and rarely looked like adding to that tally.

Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney in action against PSG

Schweinsteiger needs to get up to speed quickly:

Bastian Schweinsteiger managed just three 45 minute outings on tour, with the German midfielder looking off the pace and in need of sharpening up ahead of the Premier League opener against Spurs. He looks unlikely to be firing in time for that game.

Paris Saint-Germain forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic keeps the ball away from Manchester United's Bastian Schweinsteiger

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