Potential Manchester United starting XI plus subs for 2016/17 season
Sam Barnard, Assistant Sports Editor | May 23, 2016
The time has finally come for Manchester United fans, as the majority have got their wish with the sacking of Louis van Gaal and imminent arrival of Jose Mourinho.
In light of the Red Devils (6/1 Premier League title chances) shifting managers, Coral football writers have picked a potential starting XI plus subs for the 2016/17 season…
Goalkeeper: David de Gea
Perhaps the one name above all that United fans want to be at Old Trafford next term is their three-time Player of the Year De Gea, whose continued heroics in goal arguably helped the club finish as high as they did in the table.
Mourinho will certainly win over supporters if he managers to persuade the Spaniard to ignore advances from Real Madrid yet again.
Right back: Matteo Darmian
Italy’s Darmian may not have had the best of seasons, but he has showed glimpses of what he’s capable of, and he has the chance to prove himself with a new manager.
Centre back: Chris Smalling
Smalling nearly cost the Red Devils in the FA Cup final when he got himself sent off in extra-time, but in the end it didn’t matter and overall throughout the season has been one of the club’s better players.
The 26-year-old’s presence and pace will be key for Mourinho, and is arguably England’s number one centre half, going by the Three Lions’ shaky performance at the back against Turkey without him.
Centre back: John Stones
One man that Mourinho has been chasing for a while is Everton’s Stones (4/1 to join Man Utd next), and the Portuguese has been rumoured to be after him once again.
With the Toffees finishing a lowly 11th, and having just sacked Roberto Martinez, the promising centre back could be persuaded to leave this time around.
Left back: Luke Shaw
Shaw may not have been fit in time to play in Man Utd’s season run-in or get a call-up for Euro 2016, but he should be well recovered in time for the start of next campaign after recovering from a horrific leg break.
The likes of other left backs Ricardo Rodriguez and Alex Sandro have been linked with moves to Old Trafford but, with Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind already on the books, they don’t need any more cover in that area of defence.
Centre midfield: Morgan Schneiderlin
With Michael Carrick’s contract up in the summer and Bastian Schweinsteiger’s injury problems, it looks as though Schneiderlin will get the nod in the XI next season.
The Frenchman is yet to produce the form he showed for Southampton, but certainly has potential and did nothing wrong in his first year at Old Trafford.
Centre midfield: Toni Kroos
It is well known that Mourinho likes to splash the cash, and United fans will certainly be expecting it.
Kroos would represent a marquee signing for the Red Devils, and the German might fancy working under the Portuguese after narrowly missing out for Los Blancos, arriving just after Mourinho left.
Right wing: Anthony Martial
Along with De Gea and Smalling, France wonderkid Martial shone brightest for Man Utd in 2015/16 after scoring 18 goals in all competitions, more than any other Red Devil and largely from the wing.
Martial has mainly played out on the left, but is adept to switching sides, and could be seen in either role or even up front under Mourinho.
Attacking midfield: Wayne Rooney
Like Stones, Mourinho was seemingly desperate to sign Rooney while at Chelsea, as the Blues twice came close to tempting the England wonder to Stamford Bridge.
In the end, Rooney decided to stay and Mourinho will likely want to keep the club and Three Lions skipper, despite rumours that he could move on. The 30-year-old recently stated that he wants to play further back in the field from next season, so could switch from centre and attacking midfield.
Left wing: Memphis Depay
Perhaps a controversial decision to put Memphis in this team, given that he had a woeful season after so much hype the previous summer.
But we are yet to know if he will thrive under Mourinho, after seemingly falling out with Dutch compatriot Van Gaal.
Striker: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
We’ve saved the best until last, well Zlatan will certainly think so anyway, as Swedish superstar Ibrahimovic has been heavily touted to move to Old Trafford in recent month, and even more so with Mourinho’s arrival.
The duo worked together at Inter Milan, and Ibrahimovic (1/4 for Man Utd to be his next club) has always stated how highly he rates the Portuguese, so don’t back against them linking up again!