Manchester United have handed a boost to their academy graduates in the run up to their curtain raiser against Brighton and Hove Albion tomorrow.
Ahead of their Under 21s clash with Arsenal today, the announcement of the Red Devils’ starting XI came with a few notable omissions.
Zidane Iqbal, Hannibal Mejbri and Alejandro Garnacho were all absent from the matchday squad, suggesting that they will instead be involved with the first team tomorrow at Old Trafford.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 6, 2022
Iqbal has enjoyed a fantastic preseason, most notably in putting on an impressive display against Liverpool first-teamers Fabinho and Thiago Alcantara in Bangkok.
An appearance would make him the first ever Iraqi Premier League player and the first South Asian to start for Manchester United in the competition.
Hannibal Mejbri is highly rated around Carrington and has even represented Tunisia at senior level in the Arab Cup and African Cup of Nations last season.
He also featured in a couple of first team matches under Ralf Rangnick and has been likened to Jack Grealish for his dribbling ability and the regularity with which he draws fouls.
For those who did not see Rayo Vallecano’s visit to Old Trafford last weekend, Garnacho would perhaps be the most surprising inclusion in the squad.
In that game, the Argentine – who is one of the few players to have trained with both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in the same season – put on a fantastic performance.
Playing on the left wing, his desire to win possession high up the pitch and drive at defenders brought joy to a packed stadium.
Garnacho may well be in line to replace Anthony Martial following the Frenchman’s hamstring injury, with Cristiano Ronaldo well behind on fitness.
With the likely simultaneous promotion of three academy graduates to the first team’s matchday squad tomorrow, United’s scarlet thread is in no danger of coming to an end.
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