3 Manchester United players who have a point to prove in the pre-season

Manchester United enjoyed a successful first season under Erik ten Hag, finishing third in the Premier League and ending a six-year-long trophy drought with the Carabao Cup triumph, but a strong second season is equally as important.

The preparations ahead of the 2023/24 campaign are in full swing, with Erik ten Hag’s side having already completed their first pre-season friendly—a 2-0 win over Leeds United at Ullevaal Stadion in Oslo last week. The Red Devils are now set to jet off to the United States for their pre-season tour, where they will play against top European clubs, including Real Madrid, Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund.

With that in mind, here we take a look at three Manchester United players who have a point to prove in the pre-season.

#Jadon Sancho

After two seasons at Old Trafford, the jury is still out on Jadon Sancho, who arrived from Borussia Dortmund for a fee of £73million.

The English winger’s first season coincided with the Mancunian club’s worst in the Premier League era, but his second should have been much better—and it was not. Despite taking a few months out of the season for a training program to build his confidence on Ten Hag’s advice, Sancho failed to deliver the goods and only managed to look slightly better.

Thus, the pre-season represents an opportunity for the 23-year-old to prove a point and finally show the fans in the upcoming campaign why Man United were right in splashing a lot of money for his services.

#Amad Diallo

As ever, pre-season will represent an opportunity for every member of the Man United squad to try and impress the manager ahead of the start of the forthcoming Premier League campaign. There are a lot of young talents from the academy as well as in the first team who will look to grab the chances that come their way during the pre-season.

One of them is Amad Diallo, who returned to the club earlier this summer after a successful loan spell with Sunderland. The Ivory Coast international, 21, thrived under Tony Mowbray at the Stadium of Light, scoring 14 goals and grabbing four assists in all competitions.

Having gone out on loan twice since joining Man United in 2021 from Atalanta, Amad will view this pre-season as an audition—an opportunity to impress Ten Hag and his coaching staff and stake a claim in United’s first-team in the 2023/24 campaign.

#Alvaro Fernandez

Ten Hag’s Man United have been dealt a blow, with Tyrell Malacia ruled out of the pre-season tour of the United States through injury. He will miss the encounter against Lyon at Edinburgh on Wednesday and the tour of the United States.

Malacia’s absence through injury will likely open the door for academy starlet Alvaro Fernandez to impress in the pre-season. Fernandez, 20, enjoyed a strong loan spell at Preston North End in 2022/23, racking up 42 appearances in all formats. He chipped in with four assists and won Preston’s Young Player of the Year award.

Luke Shaw and Malacia are currently ahead of him in the left-back pecking order but, with the latter ruled out of the pre-season tour, Fernandez would see this as a great opportunity to audition for a place in Ten Hag’s squad next season. If Ten Hag finds he is still not ready for first-team football at United, the Spanish left-back should at least tempt bottom-half Premier League clubs to borrow him on loan.

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