Marcus Rashford’s withdrawal from Manchester United’s travelling squad for tomorrow’s Europa League match against Sheriff Tiraspol leaves manager Erik ten Hag with a dilemma regarding his replacement.
If playing with a traditional centre forward, the manager’s only option is Cristiano Ronaldo, unless he were to take a massive gamble on 18 year old Charlie McNeill, which seems highly unlikely.
However, Ronaldo’s recent form has not been good, having managed no goals this season and having struggled to adapt to Ten Hag’s system.
Another option would be to play with a false nine. But the only other time the manager attempted this formation was in the opening Premier League match against Brighton, which United lost 2-1.
On that occasion it was Christian Eriksen who adopted the forward role, and he looked out of his depth. However, having not taken part in the pre-season tour, he himself had had little time to integrate with the rest of the squad and was very much thrown in at the deep end. So perhaps he could have a second bite at the cherry.
Another player capable of playing in the role would be Bruno Fernandes.
It could be that this is the option Ten Hag might try on this occasion. With Casemiro available to hold, this would allow Scott McTominay and Eriksen more of a free role behind him, with the Dane as a deep lying playmaker and the Scotsman adopting an energetic, box-to-box role.
Fred is a backup option in midfield, along with Zidane Iqbal, but Donny van de Beek has not travelled as he recoveres from a minor issue.
Antony and Jadon Sancho are expected to take up the wing positions. Anthony Elanga and Alejandro Garnacho have also travelled.
In defence, it seems likely that Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez will resume their successful centre back partnership, with Diogo Dalot and Tyrell Malacia flanking them.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka has not travelled so he definitely won’t be included.
David de Gea looks certain to be in goal as Martin Dubravka has also not travelled.
With all that in mind, this is our expected line-up for the 17.45 kick-off tomorrow:
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