Champions League

Solskjaer to feel out squad rotation for Europa opener

2019-09-19 14:06
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Manchester United will hand a start to Mason Greenwood on Thursday night as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer makes changes for the clash with Astana.

The Reds kick-off their Europa League campaign at Old Trafford and Solskjaer will take the opportunity to rotate his squad and give some of his youngsters and fringe players a chance.

One such player is 17-year-old Greenwood who has already made four substitute appearances in the Premier League this season and will get the nod tonight.

Solskjaer has been singing the praises of the youngster and believes he is destined for greatness. But at the same time, he is keen to take the pressure off.

"He's still very young. I remember the kid who just wanted to play with his mates in the under-18s," said Solskjaer. "Now he's knocking on the door and his appetite for football must be growing.

"I just don't want to put too much pressure on him. Mason's one of the best finishers I've seen and I've played with a few decent ones."

Elsewhere, England under-21 defender Axel Tuanzebe is also set to start along with goalkeeper Sergio Romero and midfielder Fred as Solskjaer shuffles his pack.

Daniel James will miss out after picking up a knock against Leicester at the weekend and joins midfielder Paul Pogba, forward Anthony Martial and defender Luke Shaw on the injury list.

There is some better news regards midfielder Jesse Lingard, who has recovered from illness and is likely to be involved.

Solskjaer says he has no qualms whatsoever about putting his youngsters straight into a game like this and believes he will learn a lot.

"If you don't throw them in, you don't know what you've got. I don't see any other way of doing this," he added. "I've always done it wherever I've been, that's my belief as a coach, to give a chance, an opportunity."

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Atalanta v Dinamo Zagreb, Atleti Azzurri d'Italia 22:00
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Liverpool v Napoli, Anfield 22:00
Barcelona v Borussia Dortmund, Camp Nou 22:00
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Genk v Red Bull Salzburg, Luminus Arena 22:00
RB Leipzig v Benfica, Red Bull Arena 22:00
Lille v Ajax, Stade Pierre-Mauroy 22:00
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Club Brugge v Real Madrid, Jan Breydel Stadion 22:00
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