Louis van Gaal will take a close look at Manchester United’s next generation of talent after including several youngsters in his squad for the club’s pre-season tour to the United States.
Van Gaal is keen to see what United’s youth academy has to offer and, with a handful of first-team stars missing the tour as they recover from the World Cup, the Dutchman has opted to pack his 25-man group with raw rookies.
Joining United’s new manager on Friday’s flight to the States are goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, 21, left-back Tyler Blackett, 20, centre-back Michael Keane, 21, defender Reece James, 20, forward Jesse Lingard, 21, and striker Will Keane, 21.
Among the established players travelling are Wayne Rooney, David De Gea and Juan Mata, while van Gaal’s two new signings – England left-back Luke Shaw and Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera – are also included.
Robin van Persie, Javier Hernandez, Marouane Fellaini and Adnan Januzaj are on holiday after the World Cup, with Michael Carrick a notable absentee after undergoing ankle surgery that will sideline the England midfielder for up to three months.
United will play the first match of their tour against Los Angeles Galaxy next Thursday before taking on Roma, Inter Milan and Real Madrid in the International Champions Cup.
If they make the final, they will play a fifth match in Miami on August 4.
The tour will be a big chance for the likes of Tom Cleverley, Darren Fletcher, Ashley Young, Shinji Kagawa and Nani to prove to van Gaal that they deserve to remain Old Trafford.
The fate of Bebe already appears to be sealed, though, after the winger was left out along with French left-back Patrice Evra, who is expected to join Juventus.
Brazilian midfielder Anderson is absent with a calf injury, but Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Jonny Evans will hope to stake their claims to be first-choice centre-backs following the departures of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic.
Herrera, who joined United from Athletic Bilbao last month, is looking forward to his first taste of United’s huge global appeal when they touch down in North America.
“It will be a new experience for me because it will be my first time outside Europe. All the people have told me there is a lot of United fans in America and I can’t wait to play in front of them,” he told MUTV.
“I am very happy and really enjoying being at the club and in the city. The first couple of weeks here have been great.
“Training has been good, similar to at Bilbao in that we train a lot with the ball. The coaches want us to have the ball and keep possession, which is great for the players.” (supersport.com)