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Manchester United vs Reading: Three players who must start

by Leo Nieboer

Manchester United will launch their bid to retain the FA Cup against former red Jaap Stam’s Reading side on Saturday.

The last time Man United went out to a lower league side in the third round dates back to January 2010 – a gruelling 0-1 home defeat to Leeds United. Since then, they have gone nine games without losing to teams outside the Premier League.

And following their 2-0 win over West Ham United on Monday, which saw Unitedmen claim their seventh successive victory, Jose Mourinho‘s men will be full of confidence.

With that in mind, here are three players the 53-year-old must start on Saturday.

Ander Herrera 

The Spaniard was an indefatigable presence against West Ham, refusing to take his foot off the pedal all afternoon. United’s midfield relies on Herrera for its raw grit, and such a presence will come in handy against a side accustomed to steely battles in the middle.

Marcus Rashford

How many teenagers can come off the bench in a fiery Premier League game and completely change its complexion in a matter of minutes? Rashford certainly can, as shown against West Ham in emphatic fashion: raw energy, fearlessness and power going forward – he was too much for Slaven Bilic’s side, and his performance merits a place in the starting XI.

Michael Carrick 

United’s record with Carrick in the starting XI speaks for itself: 14 games, 12 wins, no defeats and 35 goals scored. The 35-year-old, after initially struggling to land a place in Mourinho’s side, has morphed into the midfield’s metronomic axis. Without doubt the first name on the team-sheet.

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