Manchester United’s comfortable 3-1 win over Northampton Town in the League Cup gave Jose Mourinho some much needed respite.
Scrutiny from all corners of the footballing world had reached fever pitch following three straight defeats, and losing to the League One side was simply unthinkable.
Thankfully, following a brief scare, Man United cruised to victory, and can now look ahead to reasserting themselves in the Premier League against champions Leicester City. And with Mourinho’s men already six points adrift Manchester City, the 53-year-old cannot afford any selectional mishaps.
Here are three players that must start against Claudio Ranieri’s side on Saturday.
An indomitable, seemingly unstoppable force of nature going forward, Rashford’s inclusion against an energetic Leicester side is paramount. His meteoric rise to stardom is accelerating by the day; despite the array of proven superstars at Mourinho’s disposal, it is the teenager who acts as United’s focal point in attack, acting a ruthless source of terrifying speed and trickery.
The Dutchman has quietly cemented himself as a fundamental aspect of this United side. He has featured in 49 of the last 52 games, making hardly any errors along the way, performing his role at as left-sided centre back with an unyielding level of calmness and assurance. Blind superbly thwarted Jamie Vardy and Shinji Okazaki back in May, and will look to reproduce the feat on Saturday.
Yet to cement a place in the starting XI under Mourinho, the Spaniard’s performance against Northampton Town highlighted his importance to the side. His presence in midfield precipitates balance, energy and attacking enterprise, offering a more rounded dynamic than that of Marouane Fellaini. A match winner on Wednesday, Herrera will go into the game against Leicester with his confidence through the roof.