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zX ta 4 United stars have points to prove at Euros as 3 others prepare for new roles – Man Utd
June 23, 2021

Man Utd

News

4 United stars have points to prove at Euros as 3 others prepare for new roles

5 min read

Manchester United will have 11 representatives at this summer’s European Championship.

Marcus Rashford, Harry Maguire, Dean Henderson and Luke Shaw will represent England this summer, while Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba, David de Gea, Scott McTominay, Victor Lindelof, Daniel James and Dylan Levitt will all be involved with their respective nations.

With Donny van de Beek forced to withdraw from the Netherlands squad with a groin injury, there is one less player with a point to prove at the tournament. However, United will be keeping a close eye on all of their performances but for different reasons. Whether it be fitness, different roles in the team or just proving they deserve a place at the club, here’s what to expect from each player…

Best performers



Rashford dribbles while playing for England
Rashford will be a key man for England this summer

Marcus Rashford – It’s expected that Rashford will start on the left side of Gareth Southgate’s attack at the tournament, using his pace and skill to get in behind and his eye for goal to help push England to the latter stages. His end-of-season form was underwhelming to say the least, but former United skipper Roy Keane thinks that means he is “ready to explode” this summer.

Paul Pogba – Without a doubt one of the key players in the France squad, Pogba’s form for United this season was brilliant after he returned from injury. Arguably the most influential player at both club and country level, Pogba’s passing and technical ability puts him among the best midfielders in the world.

The current World champions will be looking to him to feed their phenomenal attacking players from a deep position and alongside N’Golo Kante they’ll hope he can continue his part of their formidable partnership.

Luke Shaw – It took a while, but Shaw finally appears to be realising his potential at United. His performances this season have seen him labelled as England’s best left-back and he forced his way back into the squad to earn his first caps since 2018.

It seems as though Shaw will be the first-choice left-back for Southgate this summer ahead of Champions League winner Ben Chilwell, with his pace and link up with Rashford likely to play in his favour. One on one he’s great defensively and he’s shown a new level of creativity in the opposition half this season, so look for him to continue that form with England.



Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw on the Manchester United bench
Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw are likely to be first choice for England if fitness allows

Harry Maguire – The Reds skipper is unlikely to be fit enough to feature in the Group D opener for England, but if he regains his fitness in time to take part then he will be key to their chances of success.

He’s one of the leaders in the dressing room and it’s said that his fitness will decide whether or not England proceed with a back four of a back three – that’s how important he is. If fit, he’ll have a huge part to play and if he can replicate his club form this season for his country then England will undoubtedly do well.

Point to prove?

David de Gea and Dean Henderson – After being United’s number one for the last decade, De Gea lost his place to Henderson this season. Both men made over 25 appearances during the course of the campaign but the first-choice role is still up in the air.

It seemed as though Henderson was number one, only for De Gea to start the Europa League final against Villarreal. Now with a summer tournament at play, solid performances from either man could give them the edge in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s thinking.

Both men start the tournament as second choice for their countries, but if either get the chance they will have a point to prove to their international and club manager.

Victor Lindelof – The former Benfica man has been a regular under Solskjaer since he took over in December 2018 and he has forged a decent partnership with Maguire in that time.



Victor Lindelof for Manchester United
Lindelof’s position in the team is under threat

Despite that though, there are clear flaws in the pairing and United are keen to improve their options with a centre-back signing during the transfer window. That means Lindelof’s position is under fire and he will want to prove with the national team that he is good enough to keep his spot alongside Maguire at United.

Dylan Levitt – United are currently in a position where they have a wealth of youth talent at the club knocking on the door of the first team. One of those is Dylan Levitt, a box-to-box central midfielder.

Levitt spent the first half of last season out on loan at Charlton before returning due to a lack of game time. He then went to Croatian outfit Istra 1961 for the second half of the campaign to help them stay up and will hope that a good outing with Wales this summer could see him in and around the Old Trafford first team next year, although that seems unlikely.

Different role?

Bruno Fernandes – United’s player of the year for the last two years in a row has been key in everything good the club have seen since his arrival 18 months ago.

He’s been the main man for Sporting and United in recent years but at international level he isn’t. He sits behind the king of kings Cristiano Ronaldo in that regard and must adapt to a new role as a more advanced central midfielder rather than as a number ten.



Bruno Fernandes in action for Portugal
Fernandes has only two goals in 28 appearances for Portugal

His performances in the role will allow United to take a look at how he performs in a different setup and could possibly help them to become more tactically flexible too.

Daniel James – James has struggled to perform at the level needed for Manchester United in the last two seasons, which has seen him linked with a move away from the club.

He seems determined to stick around though and can show at Euro 2020 the best position he can do that in is on the left-wing. For United he has mainly played on the right, but with his international team he mainly operates off the left. If he can put in some stellar performances at Euro 2020, United may be tempted to switch his role in their side too.

Scott McTominay – McTominay has established himself as a central midfielder in the United squad over recent years but his role in the Scotland setup is completely different.

Steve Clarke likes to play a 3-5-2 system and the 24-year-old is one of the first names on the team sheet as one of the central defenders. Using his height and composure on the ball, he is usually deployed on the right of the three and performed well. While United don’t use that system regularly, they have done on occasion and his performances could see him emerge as an option there for the club too.

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