After spending the previous season in the UEFA Europa League, which Manchester United happily added to their illustrious list of trophies, the Red Devils will be back in action in the UEFA Champions League this season.
They have been drawn in a group where they’ll face off against Basel, Benfica, and CSKA Moscow. Their supporters will be more than eager to witness their return to Europe’s top competition. However, the 24-man squad list for the same included some interesting names, as well as some shock omissions.
The list, which the Red Devils have submitted to UEFA and have put up on their website, includes the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Luke Shaw, and James Wilson.
Ibrahimovic made the news when he re-signed with the outfit last month. The soon to be 36-year-old striker was their leading goal-scorer last season, and was denied a perfect season by a freak injury that sidelined him for months.
— utdreport (@utdreport) September 4, 2017
As of such, the striker is still recovering from injury, and thus, his inclusion in the squad has fueled speculation that the Swede might make his return much earlier than the New Year.
A similar injury concern afflicts Luke Shaw. His name on the list indicates that he might not have lost favor with the management entirely, and will potentially be given an opportunity to regain his spot.
The final surprise inclusion is that of striker James Wilson. The 21-year-old had been sidelined owing to repeated injury woes. However, he might just be given the chance to break through into the senior squad.
Lastly, what has led supporters into a frenzy is the absence of youngster Marcus Rashford. The starlet has been employed repeatedly by Jose Mourinho, and thus, his absence has stumped several, as his performances have proved instrumental over the matches that United have played so far.
However, the reason for the absence lies in the fact that he has been included in list B, alongside youngsters Joel Pereira, Scott McTominay, and Axel Tuanzebe. This second list is reserved for players born after January 1, 1996, which explains why the pacey forward has not been included in the initial list.
The full squad is as follows:
Goalkeepers: De Gea, Romero
Defenders: Valencia, Bailly, Smalling, Jones, Lindelof, Rojo, Blind, Darmian, Shaw
Midfielders: Pogba, Herrera, Matic, Fellaini, Carrick, Young, Lingard
Forwards: Mkhitaryan, Mata, Martial, Lukaku, Ibrahimovic, Wilson
United commence their Champions League journey against FC Basel on September 13. It will be intriguing to see what tricks Jose Mourinho will have up his sleeves for these European encounters.
Written by Naveen Kelvin
A writer trying to craft the poetry within football. Purpose in life is to Make Good Art.