We’re just three sleeps away from the big Premier League kick-off. Jose Mourinho’s men will be gearing up for a huge clash against Leicester City, while nothing but three points will suffice.
The players are ready following their pretty average pre-season tour, but as we all know, it’s more about fitness than anything else.
With that said, the quality of the opponent while over in the United States was difficult. It gave United players a real tough test, which can only be good for their overall development. Let’s take a look at how our defenders rated in this edition of our pre-season player ratings.
Was named club captain, but injury spoilt his tour. The man from Ecuador looked solid in the first game, but that’s all she wrote as he was subbed off early in our second fixture versus San Jose Earthquakes. Hopefully, it’s nothing too serious and he’s back soon.
Actually looked very good for the most part. Defensively, he’s been sound, while also whipping in a few decent crosses into Alexis Sanchez and company. Sure, he’s not the long-term fix for our right-back issues, but as a deputy, I wouldn’t mind keeping him around. All the talk suggests he wants out, though.
Didn’t play, but was over in The USA, presumably to bond and get to know his new teammates while continuing his recovery. Hopefully, he’s not out of action for too long!
Shaw’s time is now. He’s had an injury-ravaged, out-of-favour, few seasons at Old Trafford. He was excellent on the tour, remaining Mourinho’s starting left-back for the majority. He looks in shape, fully fit and ready to make that position his own; something which the fans have been calling for him to do since his arrival. It’s now or never.
It’s now or never for Luke Shaw. Ashley Young still recovering from World Cup, with Shaw going into the season in the back of an excellent tour. Take your chance, young man @LukeShaw23! #mufc pic.twitter.com/5l4IYkHGEX
— OldTraffordFaithful (@OTFaithful) August 7, 2018
It’s an odd situation. I love him as a player, I already think he’s better than Darmian. However, his tour was distinctly average and he didn’t stand out from the crowd. That’s probably why he’ll spend another year out on loan, he’s still only 20, though, despite the fact that it feels like he’s been around for quite some time.
Only played a few minutes here and there, but the experience of being in and around the first-team squad will do his confidence wonders. He’s immensely gifted, with an extremely bright future. Mourinho rightfully doesn’t want to rush him into things, and he’ll likely spend another season at youth level before making the jump up.
Missed out on England’s World Cup squad, so had the summer off. He played in every game this summer which will be great for the fitness levels before the season starts. Aerially, he won his battles, positionally, he looked good. Don’t be surprised to see him open the season as our first choice centre-half.
Bailly’s probably our best centre-half, on paper at least. After spending the majority of last season on the treatment table, this tour was massive for him. However, he kept picking up little niggling injuries that continued to trouble him throughout. Those problems became evident in his performances. At times, he looked scared to throw himself into the tackle, while also having some major lapses in concentration. Hopefully, it’s just a blip. It wasn’t all bad as he did have some good moments, too, but after an excellent debut season, you expect better.
He was ok, but had some disastrous moments. He’s a talented kid, but you get the feeling the Mancunian isn’t fully prepared for week-in-week-out top-level football. Thankfully for him, defenders mature later on in their career, so he has time on his side. He made too many positional mistakes for Mourinho to trust him fully this season, hence the loan to Aston Villa.
I love Mitchell, I think he’s vastly underrated by many. With Young still seemingly not ready to play, he deserves to start the season as a squad member. Personally, I was disappointed as to how little he played on the tour because he’s a great talent. Honestly, he’s not that far off Shaw in terms of current ability, while being slightly younger. I expect him to go out on loan again this year, though.