By 90Min
July 25, 2019

Manchester United beat Premier League rivals Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 in Shanghai to round off a very successful summer tour of Australia and Asia.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his United squad will now return to Europe for the final two friendlies of this pre-season, with the official start of the 2019/20 campaign just two weeks away.

But, before we get into that, here's a look at four things we learned from the win over Spurs...


James Will Play a Lot of Games This Season

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A lot of United fans were a little underwhelmed when Daniel James became the first signing of what was supposed to be a new era. This was a player who almost joined Leeds in January and whose only senior experience by the age of 21 was 39 games for Swansea.

But after four games of pre-season, James could prove to be one of the Premier League signings of the season after yet another live wire performance.

The electric winger was all over Spurs in the first half, using his pace to nip in and intercept the ball on numerous occasions, running at defenders and generally causing problems. It led to Spurs dishing out rough justice to stop him and the referee should have acted sooner.

James has the perfect attitude for Solskjaer's new United and that alone will see him become a crucial player once the season gets started for real. Add to that his speed on the counter attack and ability to chase long passes over the defence and this could be a very good season.


Ander Who?

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Ander Herrera was a great loss at the end of last season. There is no question that the Spaniard, a the club's Player of the Year in 2016/17, was tremendously popular with fans and absolutely bought into the mentality of what it meant to play for the club.

But maybe he was a necessary loss?

Solskjaer recently spoke about his plan for Scott McTominay and Andreas Pereira to jointly replace Herrera this season, and it looks like it will be a good move. Both players have performed very well so far in pre-season and the win over Spurs underlined that further.

McTominay may not be the most technical player, but players who graft and work hard to lay the foundations for others are just as important as the creative types. Pereria is more naturally gifted, yet he never shies away from a tackle or confrontation and looks ready to step up.

If Paul Pogba is at the top of the central midfield pecking order, McTominay and Pereira should be next in line, and certainly way ahead of Nemanja Matic and Fred - when the latter pair replaced the former pair in the second half in this game, United had far less zip and control.


Centre-Back Issues Persist

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The expected signing of Harry Maguire from Leicester, or indeed another top centre-back before the new season begins, cannot come soon enough because the centre of defence remains by far the biggest let down in the current United squad.

Fans were disappointed to see Marcos Rojo start this game. The rash and unpredictable Argentine has played just 113 games for United in five seasons and the fact that he is still at the club, even landing a new long-term contract, is a mystery to say the least.

Starting the game suggests he is part of the plans for 2019/20, although a silver lining might be that he continues to be involved to keep him fit in order to make a sale easier. Rojo didn't play badly, but he shouldn't still be at the club, it's that simple.

It was also disappointing to see Eric Bailly, a player who has shown so much potential since joining United in 2016 without ever managing to build on it, limp out of the game injured (again) just a few minutes after coming on as a half-time substitute.


The Future Is Now

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The performances of new signings, Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, the improved attitude of Anthony Martial, and the continued professionalism of Paul Pogba are just some of the positives to take out of United's tour of Australia and Asia.

But arguably the most exciting thing has been the performances of the youngsters in the squad, several of whom have seriously staked a claim for a bigger first team role this season.

Mason Greenwood, James Garner, Tahith Chong and Angel Gomes have all done great things in these four games. Greenwood in particular has shone, to the point where Solskjaer has confirmed he is consideration to start the Premier League opener against Chelsea next month.

Gomes scored the decisive goal that beat Spurs, combining a fine pass and move with a solo dribble and an inch perfect finish from a narrow angle, showcasing all the natural talent and ability fans were already well aware that he has at his disposal.

United bagged nine goals across four tour games, and all nine were either scored or assisted by a player schooled in the club's own academy. That also includes the likes of Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba as well, underlining the strength of the system and the club's faith in youth.

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