Manchester United vs. CFR Cluj: Selecting a Starting XI for Sir Alex Ferguson

Nicholas GossCorrespondent IDecember 5, 2012

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 24:  Danny Welbeck of Manchester United hurdles the tackle of Adel Taarabt of Queens Park Rangers during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Queens Park Rangers at Old Trafford on November 24, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Manchester United have already won the top spot in Group D, so Wednesday's Champions League match against CFR Cluj is a good opportunity for manager Sir Alex Ferguson to get some young players a bit more experience.

United has strong depth, but they will not win any trophies this season if players such as Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie struggle with injuries.

United also needs to make sure all of their best players are rested and ready for this weekend's Premier League match against rivals Manchester City.

Let's look at a possible starting XI for Ferguson ahead of the club's final group stage match of this year's Champions League.


Position Player Notes
GK Anders Lindegaard He's a good young goalkeeper who needs more experience in the Champions League.
LB Alexander Buttner The Dutch defender is a talented attacking player who needs some European experience.
CB Phil Jones
The young defender will play a key role in United's defense this season and deserves to start.
CB Chris Smalling
Smalling could be an important player this season if United's center-backs continue to deal with injuries.
RB Rafael The young Brazilian defender is good in the attacking third and brings energy to the defense.
MF Tom Cleverley
The English midfielder has played in just three Champions League matches this season.
MF Darren Fletcher Fletcher needs to continue to build his fitness level, so starting Wednesday is a no-brainer.
MF Michael Carrick Carrick should start to give the team a veteran presence in midfield.
MF Ashley Young Young is going to be a key part of United's European campaign this season, so he deserves a start in this match.
ST Wayne Rooney  Against an inferior opponent, Rooney should be able to get on the scoresheet and build some confidence on Wednesday.
ST Javier Hernandez The Mexican forward has played well this season, and you could even make a case for him starting over Wayne Rooney in a normal EPL match.

Ferguson has plenty of options to consider, but there's no reason for him to play some of the club's older, and more injury-prone players when his team has nothing at stake versus CFR Cluj.

He would be wise to give some younger players an opportunity to show they can handle the intensity of Champions League football.