AmaZulu vs. Manchester United: Predicting the Starting XI for Preseason Friendly
Manchester United's preseason tour is almost under way. First on the list is an away game to South African Football club AmaZulu. This will be the first time that Sir Alex Ferguson's men will be in South Africa since 2008.
The 22-man tour squad that will be travelling for the pre-season tour includes a mix of experienced players, like Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand, and also a host of youngsters. Here's the 22-man squad:
Anders Lindegaard, Ben Amos, Sam Johnstone; Rio Ferdinand, Frédéric Veseli, Marnick Vermijl, Scott Wootton, Tyler Blackett; Antonio Valencia, Anderson, Michael Carrick, Paul Scholes, Nick Powell, Shinji Kagawa, Bebe, Ryan Tunnicliffe, Jesse Lingard, Robbie Brady, Davide Petrucci; Dimitar Berbatov, Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez, Federico Macheda.
The preseason tour will give fans the opportunity to witness the team and the new signings. It will be especially interesting to see how Shinji Kagawa performs with the team and what formation Sir Alex will employ in order to accommodate the former Borussia Dortmund attacking midfielder.
In most likelihood, a switch to a 4-2-3-1 formation seems to be impending.
Here's picking United's Starting XI against AmaZulu.
David de Gea is on Olympic duty, so Anders Lindegaard will start. Lindegaard was injured during the later half of last season, and he must be looking to make an impact.
Scott Wooten would likely be given a place in the starting line-up, as he has been ever impressive ever since joining United in 2007 from Liverpool, after being disconcerted by the number of young, foreign players brought in by Rafael Benitez.
He was on loan to Peterborough last season, and he was impressive then as well.
Rio Ferdinand will start alongside him.
Like De Gea, Rafael is also on Olympic duty and will not be present for the pre-season tour, hence Marnick Vermijl will be deployed as the right-back for the game. He is excellent in defense and likewise impressive when in the offensive third.
Last season, Vermijl made 29 appearances, as he helped his team win the Barclays Premier Reserves League and Manchester Senior Cup.
Tyler Blackett could be the player deployed at the left side of defense. The energetic full-back is superb at his defensive duties, and he is equally able to make surging runs in the opponents' half. Not to mention, he is also somewhat of a free-kick specialist. United have their very own Aleksandar Kolarov in the making.
He has also featured for England at the youth level, and Sir Alex would be keen to thrust some responsibilities on the young lad.
Picking the two midfielders occupying the "two" position is a little bit tricky. Nevertheless, I think it will be Michael Carrick and Paul Scholes.
Both can hold and distribute the ball with ease.
However, Anderson must be looking to make an impact, and he might be given the nod to showcase himself in this match.
On the right flank will be United's player of the season of 2011/12: Antonio Valencia.
On the left, it might be either Jesse Lingard or Robbie Brady. I would go with Brady, as he is a natural left-winger, while Lingard prefers to play a bit centrally. Brady had an impressive showing with Hull City last season, where he featured in 39 of their matches and scored thrice.
At the international stage, Brady was again impressive, as he collected Under 21 International Player of the Year for Ireland.
At the center, sitting right behind the striker, will be Manchester United's new marquee acquisition Shinji Kagawa.
The person to occupy the position of lone striker might be Javier Hernandez.
Follow me on Twitter: @BrenGoetze
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