The pre-season is upon us and Manchester United will be playing their first game under Jose Mourinho against Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium on Saturday. The composition of Mourinho's first squad as the United manager is yet to be revealed. One can expect a mixture of young and experienced players.
Before the Red Devils kick-start their pre-season tour of China, where they will be facing Borussia Dortmund, Manchester City and Everton in the International Champions Cup, Mourinho will want his boys to start the pre-season with a win.
However, he is unlikely to risk his best players in the squad ahead of the tour of China. The Red Devils are without 14 of their senior players.
New signings Eric Bailly and Henrikh Mkhitaryan are expected to start against Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium on Saturday.
Mourinho is usually known for his defensive rigidity thus once can expect a 4-2-3-1 formation against Wigan Athletic on Sunday. This formation was hardly used under Louis Van Gaal.
It will be interesting to see how many youngsters make their way into the starting XI. Young defenders Axel Tuanzebe and Tyrell Warren may just get Mourinho's nod on Saturday to make their first start for United. However, Warren is likely to face stern competition from Dutch rising star Timothy Fosu-Mensah at the back. Fosu-Mensah was impressive towards the end of the last season under Van Gaal.
Academy goalkeeper Sam Johnstone could start between the sticks in place of David De Gea and Sergio Romero.
Wigan Athletic on the other hand have a tough schedule as they will be playing two games in a span of two days. They will be facing Liverpool on Sunday.
Wigan's star attraction Will Griggs, who shone for Northern Ireland during the recently concluded Euro 2016, will not be starting against United on Saturday. Therefore United's defense should not feel threatened.
Andy Kellett and Reece James are also set to miss the weekend games against Manchester United and Liverpool. James is still recovering from his ankle injury.
Expected starting XI:
Wigan Athletic: Nicholls; A.Taylor, Morsy, Odelusi, Huws; Cosgrove, Chow; Whitehead, Powell, Pearce; Wildschut.
Manchester United: Johnstone: Fosu-Mensah, Bailly, Jones, Shaw; Carrick, Herrera; Mkhitaryan, Lingard, Januzaj; Wilson.