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4-2-3-1: Man Utd Predicted XI to Face Reading
Manchester United host Reading lunchtime in the first FA Cup tie on Saturday.
The Red Devils welcome back former defender Jaap Stam to Old Trafford with the Dutch manager in charge of the Championship outfit
With a top four finish José Mourinho’s top priority this season I think we’ll see a large rotation of his regulars ahead of their midweek EFL Cup semi-final.
Here is the team I think Mourinho will send out:
Goalkeeper: Sergio Romero
The backup should give David de Gea a rest in the FA Cup after a busy festive period for the Spaniard.
Defence: Matteo Darmian, Chris Smalling, Daley Blind, Luke Shaw
A ring of changes in defence sees Luke Shaw making his first appearance since the end of November, provided he’s fully fit. Eric Bailly is off to the African Cup of Nations so I think we’ll see Daley Blind recalled to the starting XI alongside Chris Smalling as Phil Jones is given a rest. Matteo Darmian can give Antonio Valencia a breather at right-back.
Midfield: Marouane Fellaini, Bastian Schweinsteiger; Juan Mata, Wayne Rooney, Anthony Martial
Michael Carrick is almost-certain to be handed a rest and Marouane Fellaini and Bastian Schweinsteiger can come in to play the holding midfield roles with Ander Herrera also given a break. With Morgan Schneiderlin seemingly on the transfer market this month I don’t think the French international will be involved. Wayne Rooney is back in training and has not featured recently so I think he’ll start, likely the number 10 role. Juan Mata hasn’t had too much action of late and Anthony Martial didn’t feature too much over the festive period so these two could start. Ashley Young is also competing for a place in the starting XI.
Striker: Marcus Rashford
Zlatan Ibrahimović is due a break so expect teenager Marcus Rashford to lead the line against the Championship outfit. Mourinho realises the youngster is a bigger threat as a striker than wide man so Rashford has to start as the striker and not on the wing in this one.
Here is the Manchester United team on paper: