By 90Min
July 13, 2019

Manchester United began their pre-season with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Perth Glory in Australia, with goals from Marcus Rashford and 18-year-old James Garner. 

Following victory at the Optus Stadium on Saturday, the Red Devils face Leeds United next, before they head to Asia to take part in the International Champions Cup. 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will have been relieved to get his men back out on the playing field after weeks of speculation surrounding several players' futures and will now be looking forward to the sterner challenges that lie ahead. 

Here's a look at five things we learned from United's first pre-season game...


The Future Looks Bright

It's not the first time the Manchester United academy has been praised and the United faithful will have been excited by what they saw or heard in the match against Perth Glory. Tahith Chong and Axel Tuanzebe started the game before Angel Gomes, Mason Greenwood and James Garner took to the field in the second half. 

Garner scored a sharp goal, intercepting the ball and firing into the bottom corner only minutes after coming on. This was a noticeable feature in United's style as they looked to steal the ball at every opportunity.

Angel Gomes looked bright as a half-time substitute as did Greenwood. Greenwood is one of United's most exciting young guns, having scored more goals in the academy than Marcus Rashford. He took players on, nutmegging them and getting his shots away.

At the back, Tuanzebe continued his fine form from the back-end of last season as he looks to stake a claim in United's first XI. Solskjaer has reiterated his intentions to integrate the youngsters into the squad and based on the first game, no one did their chances any harm.  


Daniel James Is Indeed Electrifying 

Will Russell/GettyImages

The former Swansea City man was brought to Manchester United in a £15m deal this summer and the match against Perth Glory was the first chance to see what he can bring to the United team. 

Well, he certainly didn't disappoint as he was (as promised) stupendously fast and showed great intelligence. 

In the early minutes, he was constantly showing for the ball and he was a constant threat. The Welshman was persistently making clever runs between the right back and centre back, which suited the overlapping full back (Ashley Young, in this case). 

James has reportedly topped all the pre-season tests so far, including maxing out the bleep test. This was most certainly put into practice on the pitch as he was a menace. 


Lack of Goal Threat From Midfield 

Will Russell/GettyImages

Ready for some good news United fans? Pogba seemed pleased enough to be playing despite the constant reports suggesting he is trying to force his way out of the club. He also made a massive difference when coming on as well. 

However, it was clear to see throughout the match that the Red Devils are still lacking a goalscoring central midfielder. 

Upon Pogba gracing the pitch, he automatically brought another dimension to the team, setting up Marcus Rashford's goal with a deft flick. Apart from the alleged wantaway Frenchman, there is a distinct lack of creativity. 

Paul Kane/GettyImages

Jesse Lingard operated the number 10 role in the first half but struggled to get Anthony Martial in behind. The Englishman had a well-struck shot saved by Liam Reddy and looked bright in the middle of the park but the club need more than 'bright.'  

Numerous reports claim that the Old Trafford side are considering both Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Bruno Fernandes. Even if Pogba does stay, the team is crying out for another proactive midfielder and this was reaffirmed in the victory over Perth. 


Anthony Martial Is Not a Striker

Will Russell/GettyImages

What we have learnt time and time again is that Martial is most effective taking men on while playing on the wing. This was made abundantly clear once again in the victory over the Australian side.

James occupied the left wing position and produced some dangerous looking crosses that were begging for an out-and-out centre forward to tap home. Instead, Martial was found lagging behind and not up with the play. The Frenchman likes to receive the ball to feet and failed to make any significant direct runs in behind that troubled the deep-lying Perth Glory defence. 

Solskjaer appears to be set on Rashford as his number one striker, and he scored a clinical left-footed finish after coming on. 

Elsewhere, Romelu Lukaku didn't feature due to a slight injury but his future remains up in the air. What we do know for certain is that Martial is much more effective on the wing. 


Luke Shaw Needs a Rest

Will Russell/GettyImages

The downside to United's 2-0 victory was the injury scare to Luke Shaw. 


He appeared to pull up with a hamstring injury and is expected to miss the match against Leeds on Wednesday. Shaw, of course, has a long history of injury issues but United will be hoping that it is nothing too serious. In the meantime, the club have Diogo Dalot, Ashley Young and Marcos Rojo to fill in. 

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