Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Huge week for our boys culminates in biggest game of all

The minds of football fans everywhere are centred on Russia and the FIFA World Cup, but this is also a massive week for United, as ever - there's never a dull or quiet moment at the biggest club in the world.

Hard-working wing back Ashley Young has started four of England's five games at the tournament and, having celebrated his 33rd birthday on Monday, is expected to feature in the semi-final tie against Croatia for Gareth Southgate's side. He picked up an assist in the 2-0 quarter final win over Sweden and an appearance in the final would surely be the perfect birthday present.
Tuesday sees the first of the last four ties, a match with plenty of Reds involved as Paul Pogba's France team face tournament favourites Belgium - spearheaded by Romelu Lukaku (who signed for United one year ago this week) and the much maligned Marouane Fellaini who has been quietly impressive for the 'other' Red Devils in Russia so far.
Then on Wednesday, Phil Jones, the aforementioned Young, Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford will all play their part in that historic semi final for the Three Lions in Moscow, the England national team's most important match for 28 years. If they win, we will definitely have United players on both sides during Sunday's showpiece denouement.

At the start of his fifth season at Old Trafford, out of favour left-back Luke Shaw turns 23 on Thursday, with his future at United under Jose Mourinho, a vehement critic of his player, still uncertain.The defender has been putting in the hard yards in a bid to get himself into shape ahead of the start of the new season next month.
Then on Saturday, attention turns to the game that history often forgets - and the game that no one really wants to play in. The World Cup tie for the consolation prize of third place takes place in Saint Petersburg at 3pm and - like the final itself - there is guaruanteed to be at least one United player involved in the fixture.

With the eyes of the world honed on Moscow, United fly out of Manchester Airport on the same day  to officially begin their pre-season tour Stateside, where the Reds will play MLS sides Club America and San Jose Earthquakes, before Champions Cup fixtures with European giants AC Milan, Liverpool and Real Madrid, with the three-time defending Champions League winners now under the tutelage of Julen Lopetegui.

Academy starlets Tahith Chong, Angel Gomes, Mason Greenwood and James Garner did not travel with the reserves and academy to Austria and have stayed at Carrington to train with the first-team, suggesting they are set to be included in the travelling tour squad. New signings Lee Grant and Diogo Dalot will also fly across the Atlantic.

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