Manchester United looked to extend their pre-season campaign winning run as they faced Wrexham at the Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego.
With the senior team set to face Real Madrid in less than 24 hours, a heavily youth-inspired side was put forward to face the Welsh side.
Nathan Bishop started in goal with a defensive four of Marc Jurado, Will Fish, Jonny Evans and Alvaro Fernandez ahead of him.
In midfield, U-21 boss Travis Binnion opted for Toby Collyer, Dan Gore and Hannibal Mejbri.
Joe Hugill led the line for United with Shola Shoretire and Isak Hansen-Aaroen flanking him on either side of the attack.
Here are three things we learned from Manchester United’s 3-1 loss vs. Wrexham.
Hannibal Mejbri may not feature very highly in Erik ten Hag’s first-team plans for next season
That Hannibal started against Wrexham as opposed to being part of the Red Devils team preparing to take on Real Madrid in Houston, could be taken to mean that the Tunisian is not especially high in Ten Hag’s thinking for the senior squad ahead of the upcoming season.
Compare and contrast Hannibal’s situation to Kobbie Mainoo for instance, who travelled with the first-team players to Houston and is available for selection against the Spanish giants.
Apart from Evans, who was obviously the most experienced United player on the pitch against Wrexham, Hannibal is the other who can boast significant experience so far in their career.
So far during pre-season, the midfielder has done well and would have been hoping his displays were enough to convince Ten Hag to at least hand him the chance to prove himself with the big boys.
However, his involvement at the Snapdragon Stadium suggests otherwise, despite the fact that he did well in a team full of youngsters. In fact, Hannibal was United’s outstanding player.
On top of this, consider the fact that he was overlooked for the captaincy, with Gore taking the armband instead of him and it does not look very promising for Hannibal.
It could very well be that another loan spell is on the cards for the 20-year-old ,who spent last season with Birmingham City in the championship.
Already, Hannibal has been linked to Luton Town, who are the Premier League newcomers.
Most of the young players still not ready for first-team action
A clear conclusion from the match is that a majority of the academy players are still not quite ready for senior action or sufficiently capable of taking the massive leap from youth football to the first team.
This was evident in the few defensive mistakes made that ultimately aided Wrexham in finding the back of the net and the raw decision-making that at times left the team on the back foot.
A case in point is Bishop, who was replaced by Radek Vitek during the interval. It was Bishop of course who in a mad rush from his goal, recklessly clattered into Paul Mullin.
Mullin was escorted by medical staff out of the match for further treatment, Luckily for Bishop, the referee only saw it fit to dish out a yellow card.
The shot-stopper was also beaten from three yards by Elliot Lee for Wrexham’s opening goal and could only watch as the ball went past him.
Bishop was not the only one to make errors. A rash tackle by Gore saw the midfielder given his marching orders extremely early in the second half to reduce United to 10 men.
There are just two typical examples of just how unready the Reds’ academy stars are.
For most of them, more time within the junior ranks is required and maybe even loan spells with other clubs to aid in their development.
If Ten Hag was hoping for a breakthrough performance from someone, he would have been left disappointed as no one really stood up to be counted.
United must not keep Evans beyond his current short-term contract
Jonny Evans was partly responsible for United’s calamities at the back.
It was his being beaten for pace by Mullin that necessitated Bishop coming out of his line to bulldoze the Wrexham forward.
Ten Hag has previously spoken about the Englishman’s wealth of experience and knowledge but this was largely missing against Phil Parkinson’s men.
Most fans who watched the game would have been left feeling that the 35-year-old could have shouldered more responsibilities with respect to organizing the backline.
For a team that harbours ambitions of competing for top honours next term, United need better than Evans even as the club refuses to definitively rule out retaining the Irishman.