Manchester United host Norwich City at Old Trafford on Saturday and interim manager Ralf Rangnick has called up two Red Devils wonderkids for the Premier League clash
Image: Eamonn and James Clarke)
Academy stars Hannibal Mejbri and Alejandro Garnacho have been included in United’s squad for the match at Old Trafford, with each youngster eyeing their first Premier League appearance of the season. While Hannibal made the bench for last weekend’s dismal 1-0 defeat at Everton and become a member of the first-team squad in February, Garnacho is the new kid on the block.
The 17-year-old joined the Red Devils from Atletico Madrid in the summer of 2020, and after a campaign settling in, has scored 12 goals for various youth teams this term. Five of Garnacho’s strikes have come during the Under-18s’ run to the FA Youth Cup final, where they will face Nottingham Forest. The Spanish-born forward was called up to Argentina‘s senior squad in March, having trained with United’s first-team recently as Rangnick and co limp towards the end of the season.
With seven games to go, the 20-time English champions sit six points and 12 goals adrift of fourth-place Tottenham Hotspur in the race for Champions League football. As most supporters write their chances off, attention has turned to the Red Devils’ search for a new permanent manager which appears to be coming to an end.
Earlier this week, Ajax boss Erik ten Hag agreed a deal in principle to replace Rangnick, who has presided over first-team affairs since December, following the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The acclaimed German coach, however, was coy on Ten Hag’s not-yet-confirmed arrival during his news conference on Friday.
“My focus is on the game against Norwich, prepare the team on a higher level for the game,” Rangick stated. “Again, it doesn’t make sense (to speak about Ten Hag). We all know he’s a good manager, he’s done a good job at Ajax and former clubs but it doesn’t make sense if I tell you what I think of another coach.”
Eamonn and James Clarke)
Eamonn and James Clarke)
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Unfortunately for the 63-year-old, United will be without Luke Shaw for Norwich’s visit after the defender suffered a setback on his return from an operation to remove screws in his leg. “As it seems, he will be out for at least another four or five weeks,” Rangnick revealed. “I think for him it will be difficult for him to be available for the remaining seven games.”
In Shaw’s absence, Alex Telles is in line to keep his place at left-back, although Diogo Dalot looks set to replace Aaron Wan-Bissaka on the right. Nemanja Matic confirmed on Friday evening that he will be leaving the club at the end of the season but is expected to start due to Fred and Scott McTominay‘s respective injuries. The pair are ruled out alongside Raphael Varane and Edinson Cavani, the latter of whom is also on his way out this summer.
Man Utd probable XI (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Dalot, Lindelof, Maguire, Telles; Matic, Pogba; Sancho, Fernandes, Rashford; Ronaldo