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Opinion: How could Erik ten Hag line-up with Manchester United for the first game of pre-season?

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how manchester united could lineup against rosenborg in their first pre-season friendly

Here is how Manchester United could line up against Rosenborg in their first pre-season friendly

The 2023/24 was a season to forget for Manchester United and their fans. They were eliminated from the Champions League at the group stage and finished eighth in the league—their worst-ever finish in the Premier League era. As a result, Erik ten Hag was under immense pressure heading into the FA Cup final against cross-town rivals Manchester City in May.

The odds were heavily stacked against Erik ten Hag and his side but they surprised almost everyone by beating their noisy neighbours 2-1 in the FA Cup final. A disastrous campaign was salvaged to some extent with the FA Cup triumph, although that did little to ease the pressure on Ten Hag.

After running a thorough end-of-the-season review, new co-owners INEOS came to the conclusion of sticking with Ten Hag as the manager. The Dutchman, whose current terms were about to expire next year, signed an extension at the club until the summer of 2026.

Under the new structure at Manchester United that has witnessed fresh executive appointments—including the timely stepping in of Dan Ashworth as the new sporting director and the hiring of Christopher Vivell as the temporary director of global talent—Ten Hag’s position has changed from a manager to a head coach. This continuity in leadership is pivotal as the 20-time English champions address changes on and off the field as well as strategic signings needed to strengthen the squad.

With less than a week away for the pre-season tour to begin, Manchester United players reported to Carrington on Monday morning. Ten Hag’s squad will return in batches over the next few weeks, with those fulfilling international commitments set to follow later.

The Dutchman’s side are set to travel to Norway for their first pre-season friendly against Rosenborg on July 15 before facing Rangers at Murrayfield five days later. The Man United squad then jet off for the United States tour where they will come up against Arsenal, Real Betis and Liverpool.

Manchester United players who returned on Monday included Marcus Rashford, Harry Maguire, Casemiro, Mason Mount, Andre Onana, Antony, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Victor Lindelof. It is expected that Ten Hag will stick to his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation in the opening games of pre-season, although he may experiment with new formations depending on new signings and availability of players.

Our Predicted Manchester United lineup vs Rosenborg (4-2-3-1)

Goalkeeper—Andre Onana

After David de Gea was released last summer, Man United splashed £47.2m to sign Andre Onana from Inter Milan. It wasn’t smooth sailing in his debut season at Old Trafford as Onana produced error-strewn displays in goal. His performances did improve to a certain extent during the second half of the campaign, with the Cameroonian playing a key role in his side’s FA Cup final win over City.

Having taken a season to adjust to the demands of Premier League football, Onana should come good this season. He is a certainty to start in goal for Man United against Rosenborg.

Left-back—Harry Amass

Harry Amass has gone from strength to strength since signing the club from Watford in 2023 and is widely regarded as one of the best young English talents in the game right now. He was around the first-team fringes last season but didn’t make his senior debut. Now with Luke Shaw away on international duty and Tyrell Malacia continuing his rehabilitation on a serious knee injury, the teenager has a chance to stake his claim at left-back.

Centre-back—Harry Maguire

Harry Maguire has seen his future at Man United grow increasingly uncertain over recent seasons. The 31-year-old was unlucky to miss out on a place in the England squad due to an injury. However, he seems to have recovered from his injury and should start against Rosenborg.

With the club committed to signing a centre-back or two this summer, Maguire would look to impress his boss with a clean performance in the first pre-season friendly.

Manchester United star Harry Maguire set to miss out on FA Cup final, shares story on Instagram.
Manchester United star Harry Maguire has recovered from his injury and should be available for the pre-season.

Centre-back—Victor Lindelof

Victor Lindelof struggled with injuries across the 2023/24 season. He is into the final year of his contract and the Red Devils are open to listen to offers for him, especially with the club actively pursuing new centre-backs.

With Raphael Varane released, Jonny Evans injured and Lisandro Martinez away with Argentina for the Copa America, the Swede looks likely to partner Maguire in central defence.

Right-back—Aaron Wan-Bissaka

With Diogo Dalot away on vacation after Portugal’s elimination at the hands of France in the 2024 Euros’ quarter-finals last week, Aaron Wan-Bissaka is the only senior right-back at Ten Hag’s disposal. Wan-Bissaka is expected to start in his natural position, even though he was largely used as a left-back in the absence of Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia during the second half of the campaign.

Defensive midfield—Casemiro

Casemiro’s second season at Old Trafford was plagued with injuries. He failed to make a significant impact and the club are now ready to move on the Brazilian this summer to free up their wage bill. Having reported for training on Monday, though, he should be expected to start in his preferred role against Rosenborg.

Central midfield—Hannibal Mejbri

Hannibal Mejbri is back to the club after a hugely underwhelming loan spell with Sevilla. His stock has seemingly gone down after his wretched time in Spain, and if he is planning to move away from Old Trafford in search of regular game time, pre-season fixtures should give him opportunities to catch the attention of clubs across the continent.

Mason Mount We All Follow United
Mason Mount will be eager to prove his worth at Man United.

Left-wing—Amad Diallo

Amad Diallo took time to get back to speed after spending several months on the sidelines due to an injury. The Ivorian was given opportunities at the back end of last season which he took with both hands. Back in training, Amad will look to catch the eye with his trickery, movement and dribbling skills.

Central attacking midfield—Mason Mount

A lot of buzz was created when Mason Mount swapped Chelsea for Man United last summer. However, constant injury problems ruined his debut season in Manchester. Now fully fit, the England international will be raring to shine for our club and nail down a spot in Ten Hag’s first XI.


After back-to-back underwhelming campaigns, Antony’s time at the club remains under serious doubt. This could be the last chance saloon for the diminutive Brazilian. He will be hoping to make a mark in the pre-season and fight for his spot under Ten Hag.

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Striker—Marcus Rashford

Much like many of his teammates, Marcus Rashford had an ordinary 2023/24 campaign. This led to him not being picked in the England squad for the 2024 Euros. The England snub for a major tournament should be enough to motivate our No.10 and prove his detractors wrong.

With Rasmus Hojlund having gone for an extended break following international commitments, Rashford should lead Man United’s attack against Rosenborg.