Jose Mourinho has confirmed that Chris Smalling and new arrival Victor Lindelöf will both start in central defence against Basel on Tuesday night. As United prepare for their return to the Champions League, Mourinho was left with a limited selection in the centre of defence.
They will have to cope without Eric Bailly and Phil Jones, both of whom are suspended for Tuesday's encounter - as a result of UEFA bans. Having played in all of United's Premier League games this season, the loss of the starting pair will be a big one for Mourinho's side.
As quoted by the club's official website, Smalling and Lindelöf will start their first match since United's Supercup defeat to Real Madrid. Jones, having been heralded as England's best defender by Southgate, is deserving of a rest according to Mourinho following United's 2-2 draw with Stoke on Saturday:
"He's playing well for us. He's probably tired with two consecutive matches with the national team but he cannot play on Tuesday so it's good that on Tuesday he gets his rest and it's an opportunity for Smalling and Lindelöf to play the Champions League match."
A baptism of fire awaits the young Swedish defender, set to make his full competitive debut for United in Europe's greatest competition. However, having made 12 Champions League appearances for Benfica - Lindelöf is surprisingly experienced for a 23-year-old. Lindelöf may even find himself facing off against his old club Benfica, who United are set to play on the 18th October.
Having bowed out at the group stage in the 2015/16 season, United fans will be hoping that under the guidance of Jose Mourinho, they can have a good run in the competition, with the group stage draw already in their favour - with all respect, Basel, Benfica and CSKA Moscow present winnable games for United.